The final wildcard spot in the AFC this season probably won’t be determined until Week 16 when the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers square off. The Steelers and Bengals are currently sixth and seventh in the conference respectively, and both have 7-5 records. Officially, Pittsburgh has the right to claim the sixth seed at the moment because the Steelers defeated the Bengals in Week 7 by the score of 24-17.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati both came away with huge victories in Week 13 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
This Week 16 battle will be the second-to-last game of the regular season, and could possibly determine the fate of each team’s destiny. The game will be played at the home of the Steelers, where Pittsburgh has only loss once this year. However, after the first 13 weeks of the season, the Bengals have a 4-2 record on the road, and are currently on a four-game winning streak.
Both teams are in the AFC North division, with Pittsburgh sporting a 2-2 divisional record while Cincinnati has a record of 1-3 within the division. Besides their head-to-head matchup in Week 16, both teams each have an additional divisional game in the final week of the regular season. This could actually be just as important, considering the fact that divisional records could determine a tiebreaker in the seeding of the playoffs.
As tight as the race is for the final playoff slot in the AFC, the playoffs could unofficially start in Week 16 for both the Bengals and the Steelers. All of this is assuming that both teams will win their prior two games leading up to their meeting in Week 16.
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