The Bengals think they're a better team — especially on defense — heading into the playoffs for the second season in a row.

They finished 9-7 last season, earned a wild card and got beat at Houston 31-10 in the first round. A 13-10 win in Pittsburgh on Sunday clinched another wild-card berth, only the second time in franchise history that they've gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

They're locked into the No. 6 seed regardless of what they do on Sunday against Baltimore (10-5) at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals (9-6) think their playoff appearance last season — when quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green were rookies — taught them a lot. They're also encouraged by the way their defense has dominated teams down the stretch.


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