Tie goes to Bengals

12-14-03, 10:05 p.m.

Jack Brennan and P.J. Combs of Bengals public relations, along with league officials, spent Sunday night coming up with playoff scenarios that give Bengals' fans hope for the postseason.

Cincinnati and Baltimore are tied for first place in the AFC North at 8-6. If the Bengals can keep pace with Baltimore atop the AFC North for the season's final two games, Elias Sports Bureau has cofirmed that Cincinnati would win the division title and host a wild card playoff game through having an edge in all forseeable tie-breaking scenarios.

In fact, the Bengals could clinch as early as this Sunday with a win in St. Louis and a Baltimore loss in Cleveland.

If the two teams finish tied, the Bengals in two of four scenarios would claim the title by virtue of the second tiebreaker, division record. The Ravens, with a 2-2 division mark at this point compared to Cincinnati's 3-2, cannot win that tiebreaker in any scenario in which the two clubs remain deadlocked.

If the Bengals do not prevail from a tie by virtue of the division-record tiebreaker, the Elias Sports Bureau has confirmed that the deadlock will be resolved on the basis of the fifth tiebreaker, which is known as "strength of victory."

"Strength of victory," is the cumulative winning percentage of the teams each club has defeated, and while those numbers won't be final until the full NFL schedule is played, the Bengals currently have the edge. Through Sunday's play, Cincinnati's victims have a combined winning percentage of .455, while the clubs Baltimore has defeated are at .402. Elias has confirmed the Bengals will hold that edge in strength of victory because Cincinnati travels to 11-3 St. Louis next week before finishing at home with 4-10 Cleveland. The Ravens go to Cleveland next week before finishing at 5-9 Pittsburgh.

Here are the four scenarios:

BENGALS DEFEAT ST. LOUIS AND CLEVELAND; BALTIMORE DEFEATS CLEVELAND AND PITTSBURGH: Cincinnati and Baltimore would each finish with 10-6 records. They would be even in the first four tiebreakers, which are head-to-head play, division record, record against common opponents and record in the AFC. The fifth tiebreaker, strength of victory would likely determine the championship.

BENGALS LOSE TO ST. LOUIS AND DEFEAT CLEVELAND; BALTIMORE GOES 1-1 IN EITHER POSSIBLE WAY: Cincinnati and Baltimore would each finish with 9-7 records. They would be even in the first tiebreaker, head-to-head play, but Cincinnati would win the division by virtue of the second tiebreaker, a 4-2 division record compared to Baltimore's 3-3.

BENGALS DEFEAT ST. LOUIS AND LOSE TO CLEVELAND; BALTIMORE GOES 1-1 IN EITHER POSSIBLE WAY. Cincinnati and Baltimore would each finish with 9-7 records. They would be even in the first four tiebreakers, which are head-to-head play, division record, record against common opponents and record in the AFC. The fifth tiebreaker, strength of victory would likely determine the championship.

BENGALS LOSE TO ST. LOUIS AND CLEVELAND; BALTIMORE LOSES TO CLEVELAND AND PITTSBURGH: Cincinnati and Baltimore would each finish with 8-8 records. They would be even in the first tiebreaker, head-to-head play, but Cincinnati would win the division by virtue of the second tiebreaker, a 3-3 division record compared to Baltimore's 2-4.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising