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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 18 if you are a Cincinnati Bengals fan

Week 18 is here and the Cincinnati Bengals are in 3rd place in the playoff picture. Who should Bengals fans root for to help their chances?

Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Sunday early game update: Cincinnati fell to the Browns 21-16 on Sunday. That means the Bengals are out of the running for the No. 2 seed, but the No. 3 seed is still in play with help later on.

The Cincinnati Bengals have put their playoff seeding fate in the hands of other teams in Week 18. Cincy has opted to rest players, including QB Joe Burrow, who may be dealing with some knee soreness. Instead of making a run at the 1-seed in the AFC, the Bengals will let it ride and be happy to be in.

If you are a Bengals fan, you’ll have a few games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their playoff seeding.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Saturday update: The Chiefs beat the Broncos, which means the Bengals have no shot at the No. 1 seed, but a win and a Titans loss could still get them the No. 2 seed. But on the other side of things, a loss to the Browns likely pushes them down to the No. 4 seed.

The Chiefs are ahead of the Bengals as the 2-seed and play Saturday night. If Kansas City loses to the Broncos, the Bengals will have a chance to move up. Cincy can still beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 18. The odds are against the Bengals, however. It’s odds the Bengals don’t wait until after Saturday to decide whether or not to start players.

The Chiefs are 10.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans

If the Chiefs and Titans both lose, the Bengals would be the 1-seed with a win. It’s a long shot. Tennessee gets the Texans in Week 18 and it appears the Titans will play starters. Chances are the Titans will seal up the top seed in the AFC on Sunday.

The Titans are 10.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins

Sunday early game update: The Bengals could still grab the No. 3 seed with losses by both the Bills and Patriots this evening so if you’re a Cincinnati fan who still cares about seeding and favorable matchups, you’re rooting for the Jets and Dolphins.

The Bills (or New England Patriots) could end up jumping the Bengals for the 3-seed in the AFC. Buffalo and New England have easier matchups and should pick up wins in Week 18. That could mean the Bengals end up playing one of the Bills or Patriots in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bills are 16-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Patriots are six-point favorites.