Fay: Could Bengals win AFC top seed?

Posted at 4:50 PM, Nov 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 16:50:15-05

The Bengals obviously put themselves in a very good position to win the division by pushing their record to 9-2 Sunday. Seattle helped them out later Sunday by beating Pittsburgh.

The Bengals are up three games in the division with five to play. It’s pretty hard not to wrap things up.

But with Denver beating New England later Sunday, it opened a path for the Bengals to the top seed in the American Football Conference.

The five remaining games are: 

> at Cleveland

> Pittsburgh

> at San Francisco

> at Denver

> Baltimore

If the Bengals win out, they’ll move past Denver, obviously. The Broncos are 9-2 also. New England would have to lose one of its remain games. 

The Patriots’ remaining games:

> Philadelphia

> at Houston

> Tennessee

> at NY Jets

> at Miami

If both teams finish, say 14-2, you go to the two-team tiebreakers, and that's when it would get complicated. Any one of these factors could break such a tie:

1 - Head-to-head, if applicable.

2 - Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

3 - Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

4 - Strength of victory.

5 - Strength of schedule.

6 - Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

7 - Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

8 - Best net points in conference games.

9 - Best net points in all games.

10 - Best net touchdowns in all games.

11 - Coin toss.

The Bengals, of course, are a long way from having to worry about tie-breakers. 

Bouncing back with the 31-7 win over St. Louis opened the possibilities after the back-to-back losses.

“You’ve seen it since the beginning of the season,” Marvin Jones said. “We’ve had some close games, but we’re still rolling. You can see it on everybody’s face, especially when we’re on the sideline. We’re determined. That hasn’t faded away. We have some tough matchups coming. We know when we go to Cleveland, it’s always a dog fight. And Pittsburgh ... we have some games that we really need to hone in the focus, and that’s what we’re doing.”

$120 mill? No Thanks reported that Johnny Cueto turned down a six-year, $120 million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s a lot of cash to leave on the table.

But Jordan Zimmerman reportedly got $110 million for five years with Detroit. 

Cueto is 96-70 with a 3.32 ERA. Zimmerman is 70-50 with a 3.32 ERA. Both are 29. 

There’s probably a bigger offer out there for Cueto. But when talking that kind of money, only a handful of teams can do it, and once they’ve committed, players can be left out. 

This time last year, James Shields was probably expecting a lot more than a three-year, $65 million deal.