Are Bengals playoff contenders?

Even with a strong defense, Cincinnati won't make noise in the postseason

Originally Published: December 23, 2012
By Matt Williamson | ESPN.com
Andy Dalton and LaMarr WoodleyJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesCan Andy Dalton lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a playoff victory?

After beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals are heading to the postseason for the third time in the past four years, which is the first time they can say that in franchise history. The No. 6 seed in the AFC, Cincinnati has two of the elite players in football (Geno Atkins and A.J. Green), is extremely well coached on the defensive side of the ball and has a solid offensive line.

But how dangerous a playoff team are the Bengals?

As the sixth seed, the Bengals will have to travel to one of the top four teams in the AFC (New England, Denver, Houston or Baltimore) in the first round of the playoffs. As it stands now, most likely, the Bengals will go to New England. And while the Bengals are 6-2 on the road this year, I can't say I love their chances of advancing after a trip to New England two weeks from now.