Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bengals Beat Browns: 23-20

With Mr. Griffin under the weather, I'll post some good news. The Bengals have almost assured themselves of a playoff spot with the defeat of the Browns.

It was a lot harder than it should have been, but the Bengals have really helped themselves immensely with this win. The only way that Pittsburgh can win the division is to win all three remaining games and to have the Bengals lose all remaining games. The reason: Bengals have the tie-breaker against Pittsburgh (tied head-to-head, Bengals lead in Division play 5-1 vs. 3-2, with no way for Pittsburgh to surpass 5-1). So, the Bengals are in if they win any of their remaining games: at Detroit, vs. Buffalo, at KC. Pittsburgh is in trouble for reasons we'll see in a minute.

Here are the seeds right now. (Many games are on TV right now, so I'll update later tonight.) Seeds 3 and 4 host the wildcard games. Seeds 1 and 2 host the second round. The top remaining seed hosts the AFC championship.

Division Leaders
1. Indianapolis. 13-0. Having lost to them, the Bengals can't pass them. Denver can't either. They won their division, and they're the #1 seed.
2. Denver. 9-3, Div: 3-1, Conf: 6-2. (They're on TV right now.) There's a log-jam in this division, and we'll know a lot more based on today's games.
3. Cincinnati. 10-3, Div: 5-1, Conf: 6-3. At 4:30 p.m., Denver beats the Bengals on tie-breakers and control their own destiny. The tie-break is conference games, so the Bengals can pass them on this, depending on how the rest plays out.
4. New England. 8-5. Conf: 6-4. Bengals have a two game lead. Also, the Bengals win the tie-breaker right now, based on conference records.

Wildcards
(Top 2 make it.)

5. Jacksonville. 9-4, Conf: 7-3. They can't win the division, but they're in good shape for the wildcard.
6/7. San Diego/KC. 8-4. These two are playing right now, so I'm not going to right all this out. I'll update after their games. Either can win their division--we'll look at that tonight.
8. Pittsburgh. 8-5. They can get in by winning the division over Cincinnati (doubtful), or by winning out and getting some help.

That's enough for now. Check back later, and we'll update the results and standings.

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