Bengals Regular Season Finale: What to Look For

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Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a pass and runs for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a pass and runs for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to finish with 12 wins for the third time in franchise history. The first two 12-win Bengals teams both lost in the Super Bowl.

After the 20-17 gut-wrenching overtime loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the outside looking in as the number three seed in the AFC playoff standings heading into the final regular season game of the year. The Bengals will host AFC North division rival, the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and they’ll need a win in order to keep their hopes for a first-round bye alive. While the Bengals are leaning on the San Diego Chargers to defeat the Broncos for a chance to move into position for the second seed. Here are some things to look for in the Bengals’ regular season finale.

If Cincinnati can defeat the Ravens on Sunday, the Bengals will tie a club record for most wins with a 12-4 overall record. The record was previously set in the Super Bowl seasons of 1981 and 1988. Reggie Nelson currently leads the NFL in interceptions with eight and he has a chance to become the first Bengal to ever lead the league in interceptions. A.J. Green has a chance to break the Bengals club record of 1,440 receiving yards, set by Chad Johnson, with 178 yards on Sunday. Green recorded 227 yards in the Bengals’ Week 3 win over Baltimore. Carlos Dunlap is already the Bengals’ single season all-time sack leader after a three-sack performance in Denver. Dunlap has 13.5 sacks on the season and is only one and a half sacks behind Oakland’s Khalil Mack in the race for the NFL’s sacks title.

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Unlike they have in years past, the Bengals will enter Week 17 relatively healthy.

A.J. McCarron

gave Bengals fans a scare Monday night after injuring his non-throwing wrist on the final play of the game. However, the quarterback has fully practiced the last two days after undergoing an MRI on Tuesday.

Tyler Eifert

looks to return after undergoing concussion protocol and missing the two previous games. It will be the first game that McCarron will have Eifert in the lineup since taking over in Week 14.

George Iloka

also looks like he’ll return to the lineup for the first time since he re-aggravated a groin injury in Week 14.

Unfortunately, Ryan Hewitt will be out for the first time all season after suffering a knee injury on the Bengals’ opening drive against Denver on Monday. Andy Dalton will be expecting good news this Monday when he will visit with doctors about the possibility of removing the cast on his throwing thumb going into the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It will be the first time in over three weeks that he will be out of the cast since the injury occurred on Week 14 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Next: Bengals Playoff Scenarios: Week 17

Regardless of what happens on Sunday, the Bengals will still host a playoff game. The Bengals clinched the AFC North and are division champs after the Steelers lost to the Ravens last week. There is always a possibility of going on a playoff run, although it would be reassuring for Bengals fans to see their team advance to the Divisional round of the playoffs for the first time since 1991. With all things said, the Bengals will have to wait until after their Week 17 matchup to find out who they will host in the 2016 playoffs.

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