Barring a bye, the Bengals could end up playing one of three teams in the first round of the playoffs. Which team would the Bengals most want to play?
Even if the Bengals win on Sunday, there is a very good chance they’ll end up playing in the Wild Card round next week. With a win against Baltimore, the Bengals will earn a 12-4 record for only the third time in franchise history. The previous two times Cincinnati finished 12-4, the Bengals advanced to the Super Bowl. Granted, those two teams were lucky enough to earn byes. This year’s team might not have that luck.
So what if the Bengals don’t end up with the bye? There’s a great chance they’ll have to play next week, as it would take an 11-4 Broncos team losing to the 4-11 Chargers and more for the Bengals to earn a bye. That being said, Philip Rivers is always a tough quarterback to face, and the Chargers defense is playing well–a bye is still in play.
But if the Bengals end up playing in Wild Card Weekend, who will they want to face? The three teams they could end up facing are the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. These three teams all struggled early on in the season but are now surging, as most playoff teams are. The Bengals, meanwhile, are 1-2 under A.J. McCarron and will be desperate for good news about Andy Dalton‘s status.
With that, let’s take a look at the three teams Cincinnati could face in the first round and determine which matchup would be the best for Cincinnati.
But first, here are some quick stats on the Bengals
Net points: 132
Next: 1. Kansas City Chiefs