The Bengals have placed themselves in excellent position to make it to the playoffs, with a pair of consecutive wins that pushed them from 7-6 to 9-6. They finish with games against the Chiefs and Browns.
If the Bengals qualify for the postseason, they’ll be entering the single-elimination round with limited experience.
Cincinnati last played in the playoffs to cap the 2015 season, losing at home to the Steelers. The current roster has a handful of guys who have played in the postseason, all of whom arrived as free agents. Beyond punter Kevin Huber (who has been with the Bengals since 2009) and long snapper Clark Harris (who has been with the Bengals since 2008), only tight end C.J. Uzomah has played in a Bengals playoff game.
Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow isn’t deterred by the lack of experience beyond the confusion of the regular season.
“The last three weeks for us have been playoff games,” Burrow told PFT by phone after Sunday’s 41-21 win over the Ravens. “The next two are playoff games for us as well. If we don’t win one of these next two, we’re not going to be in. I think we’ve had a lot of high-pressure moments this year.”
The pressure cooker continues this weekend against the Chiefs. Burrow said the team is “excited for the challenge” and “excited for what we can do” when facing Patrick Mahomes and company, who are on an eight-game winning streak.
The challenge for the Bengals, like so many other teams, will be to achieve a level of consistency that has become elusive, for most teams. The ones that find it now are the ones that will migrate deep into the postseason. Someone necessarily will, because every playoff game (duh) will have a winner. Can it be the Bengals?