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NFL playoff picture: What does Bengals-Bucs mean for AFC and NFC standings

The Bengals face the Bucs in Tampa on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Results update: The Bengals came back from an early deficit to win 34-23 and hold onto the top spot of the AFC North. It’s still a tight race with the second-place Ravens heading into the final weeks of the season. The Bucs benefit from being in a bad NFC South, and hold onto the lead despite being 6-8 after the Panthers also lost in Week 15.

The Cincinnati Bengals will head south this afternoon to meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS. It’s an old school vs. new school battle of quarterbacks with Joe Burrow going head-to-head with Tom Brady for the first time ever. Cincinnati enters this game as a 3.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Both of these teams lead their respective divisions and we’ll go over the playoff implications of this game.

Bengals playoff picture

With Baltimore losing to Cleveland on Saturday, Cincinnati now stands atop the AFC North standings in first place. However, with the Ravens currently owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincy, a loss today would drop the Bengals right back into second place in the division and down to the five-seed in the AFC playoff bracket.

Bucs playoff picture

Despite its struggles, 6-7 Tampa Bay is still clinging onto the division lead in the incredibly weal NFC South. However, with Carolina owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over them at the moment, a loss and a Panthers victory today would drop the Bucs to second in the division.

New Orleans is on the playoff chopping block this week and a Saints loss + a Bucs victory this week would officially eliminate N.O. from the mix.

Tiebreaker implications

Again, both teams are at a tiebreaker disadvantage when it comes to the teams sitting right behind them in the division standings. It’s imperative to their division title hopes to win today.