I think that depends on momentum. The only scenarios in which the Bengals would be heading to the playoffs at this point would have them playing at least one home game as division winners. The best case scenario would be the Bengals winning out, with the Patriots losing to the Ravens, but I don’t know if that’s possible given the hot streak the Ravens find themselves on, and the injuries of Cincinnati. Still, it’s a possibility and could see the Bengals with a first round bye. If New England loses next week, however, it would be up to the Bengals to win out if they didn’t want to sit home in January.
The Chiefs are playing well right now, having turned the ship around, following three straight losses. The last two games will be telling in gauging their momentum heading into the postseason. If they go in on an upswing, it’ll be difficult to beat them, even at home. If they lose against the Chargers in Week 17, it might be a different story.
As far as the Ravens, if we find ourselves in the playoffs, I don’t think we should see them there. Especially since the Dolphins could very well end up 10-6 with very winnable games against the Jets and Bills remaining. The Dolphins beat us earlier in the season, but it was an overtime game on a short week,, following an afternoon game the previous Sunday. There’s only so much you can expect from a football team on so little rest, and I think the Bengals might be able to expose some weaknesses against Miami if they meet.
What’s the team out of these that you’d prefer facing at this point?
Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) hangs on to the ball after a hit from Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Philip Wheeler (52) in the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
While I think the Dolphins are actually more dangerous, not to mention they’ve beat the Bengals twice in the past two years, I’m more inclined to want them vs. Baltimore.There’s not telling how a Miami team compromised of so many young players will perform in a postseason game.
The Ravens on the other hand, have championship experience and often play their best in the postseason. Even in Cincinnati, I’d prefer not see them in the Wild Card round.
The Chargers are another team I don’t feel good about the Bengals facing. One of the biggest reasons why the Bengals won in Week 12 at San Diego was Kevin Huber having one of the best punting days of his career.
He consistently pinned the Chargers deep in their own territory and made them drive the length of the field. That rarely ends successfully against Mike Zimmer’s defense, but Huber is no longer playing this year, and that could be the difference in the Bengals giving up 20-plus points vs. the 10 points that gave up in Week 12
In saying all of this, the Dolphins are the best matchup for the Bengals.