Bengals have chance to go on a run

It's still going to be a challenge for Cincinnati to make the playoffs and become the first Bengals team in three decades to go to the postseason in consecutive seasons.

Since 1990, only seven of 121 teams that have started 3-5 have reached the postseason. But there's more optimism with the Bengals now at 4-5 and looking at a favorable schedule.

Over the next five weeks, the Bengals' opponents have a combined 15-40 record (.272) and none currently have a winning record:

Nov. 18 at Kansas City (1-8)

Nov. 25 vs. Oakland (3-6)

Dec. 2 at San Diego (4-5)

Dec. 9 vs. Dallas (4-5)

Dec. 13 at Philadelphia (3-6)

The Bengals trail the Steelers (6-3) by two games for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. What's going to hurt the Bengals is their 2-5 conference mark, which is one of the top tiebreakers. Of the 10 teams in the AFC that have four or more wins, the Bengals are the only one with five conference losses.