Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis surprised the media room yesterday when he pronounced tomorrow’s game against the Texans the biggest game he’s been a part of.
“Yes. Very good,” he said. “It’s a rebirth. It’s a big game to win now because of what it means and how it continues to keep us moving forward.”
Lewis went as far to say it was his biggest game in 20 seasons of coaching in the NFL. Even bigger than Baltimore’s Super Bowl victory over the Giants when he was Ravens defensive coordinator.
“I wasn’t worried about winning that one,” Lewis said. “I knew my side was there. It was alright. My opinion it’s our biggest game in nine years.”
Lewis raised some eyebrows with a group of reporters after Friday morning’s practice when he said the game against the Texans is even more important than the two Wild Card games in PBS in 2005 and 2009.
“There was a finality to that,” Lewis said. “This is important because it can springboard us to where we need to go. Not just end, but we can build upon this game. Winning this game allows us to keep building. These guys have worked extremely hard and this is an opportunity to reap the benefit from how hard they’ve worked.”
There’s no question that Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans is a huge game for the Bengals. The Bengals are clinging to the 6th AFC Playoff spot by a tiny thread. 5 AFC teams are tied at 7-5 currently. The Bengals hold the tiebreaker over 3 of the other 4 teams due their 6-4 conference record. If the Bengals lose to the Texans, it’s almost a certainty that one of the other 7-5 teams will get a win and surpass the Bengals for the final playoff spot. Not only that, but the Texans are an AFC team, meaning that the Bengals will lose their one tie-breaking advantage over the other teams if they lose to Houston tomorrow.
That being said, the Bengals know that their playoff chances are in their own control. Their goal is clearly to win out from here. Realitsically, it starts with a win over the Texans tomorrow. That keeps the playoff dream alive and strong. Otherwise, the Bengals will be on the wrong side of a huge AFC wildcard logjam.
Here are the current AFC playoff standings: