NFL playoff picture: Bengals miss a chance to move up in AFC Standings

Gregory Shamus

Sunday night was an opportunity lost for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Cincinnati Bengals had a shot at taking over the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. An embarrassing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football keeps them stuck in the third seed, though.

Both the Bengals and the New England Patriots squandered opportunities to move up in the standings. Instead, the AFC playoff picture hasn't changed a whole lot.

The Chiefs and Saints were also both in line to clinch playoff spots with wins on Sunday, but only Kansas City was able to accomplish the feat. Now the Saints will play against the Panthers in Week 15 with the NFC South on the line.

Here's the rest of the playoff picture after Sunday.

(X) - clinched playoff berth (Y) - clinched division

AFC playoff standings

No. 1 - (X) Denver 11-3

No. 2 -  New England 10-4

No. 3 - Cincinnati 9-5

No. 4 - (Y) Indianapolis 9-5

No. 5 - (X) Kansas City 11-3

No. 6 - Miami 8-6

In the hunt: Baltimore (7-6), San Diego (7-7), New York Jets (6-8), Pittsburgh (6-8)

The Chiefs clinched one of the AFC Wild Card spots by beating the Oakland Raiders. Denver still controls the AFC West, though. Meanwhile, the final AFC Wild Card spot remains up for grabs. The Dolphins took over with a win on Sunday, but the Ravens would reclaim the No. 6 seed with a win over the Lions on Monday Night Football.

NFC playoff standings

No. 1 - (X) Seattle 12-2

No. 2 - New Orleans 10-4

No. 3 - Philadelphia 8-6

No. 4 - Chicago 8-6

No. 5 - Carolina 10-4

No. 6 - San Francisco 10-4

In the hunt: Arizona (9-5), Detroit (7-6), Dallas (7-7), Green Bay (7-6-1)

The NFC North and East division races are still largely up in the air. The Detroit Lions will play on Monday night and have a chance to stay ahead of the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have the tiebreaker over the Eagles but are still a game behind them after a tough loss on Sunday.

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