With the defending super bowl champions going in to Detroit last night against the Lions, and winning on a last second 61 yard field goal, the Baltimore Ravens have close the gap in the AFC north and have made it a race.
Through much of the season it looked like the Cincinnati Bengals were going to runaway with the division, but now the December 29th meeting in Cincinnati against Baltimore is now a potential AFC North championship game.
Now the Bengals are still in position to win the division, but they are now a couple of scenarios away from missing the postseason and ending a promising season.
As hard as that sounds, it is possible and that scares us fans.
The Bengals host the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, even if they win the game, the possibility of missing the playoffs is likely with a loss to Baltimore in two weeks.
Cincinnati and Baltimore would both have 10-6 records, but if the Ravens win the last game of the season, they will claim the division because of a season sweep of the Bengals. Cincinnati lost in Baltimore in overtime, 20-17 on November 17th.
Here’s another worst nightmare scenario, if the Miami Dolphins win their last two games, they would be 10-6. The Dolphins have the head-to head win over the Bengals, a Halloween night 22-20 victory over Cincinnati in Miami. If the tiebreaker for the sixth seed happens, it would mean the Dolphins will take the last spot in the AFC playoffs. And, the Bengals would be all but done.
Goodness, if only the Bengals would have won in Pittsburgh Sunday night. When you look back, late season losses can come back to bite you in the back.
A division race that appeared over back in October, is now a race. The pressure shifts to the Bengals. The Ravens are looking like the team of last year that got hot in the playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson said “We going to come back and win two in a row at home and go into these playoffs and wreak havoc.” He still has confident this team can still accomplish their goals.
Luckily for the Bengals, the last two games of the regular season is at Paul Brown Stadium, where they haven’t lost in their this season (6-0). The home-field advantage these next two games is vital, because the team feeds off from the fans. Two wins in two weeks could very well end up being what stands between them and their third straight trip to the playoffs.