As opposed to an….end-of-season division-deciding game?
The stakes wouldn’t be that much higher. Currently, the Bengals game against the Ravens serves as basically a must-win regular season game if the team wants to reach the postseason at all.
Uzomah and the rest of the team already know this game carries the most implications for who takes first in the AFC North.
The Bengals and Ravens sit first and second in the division respectively with Cincinnati holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The last two games of the season will matter too, of course, but this Week 16 matchup will more than likely decide the AFC North champion.
Cincinnati Bengals’ C.J. Uzomah is rightfully bringing a winner-take-all mentality to Week 16
Given how similarly difficult the Bengals’ and Ravens’ schedules are, this matchup poses the highest stakes of any other remaining game.
After Week 16, the Bengals have to play the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns; the Ravens have to play the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Each face a game to lose and a game to win.
It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out that this Bengals-Ravens matchup could determine who gets that elusive automatic postseason berth.
So in a sense, C.J. Uzomah is really just stating the obvious.
Week 16’s game may nonetheless be imbued with a special importance.
Cincinnati clobbered Baltimore 41-17 in their first meeting in a game neither side will easily forget. The Ravens will be looking to exact revenge with a weaker, injury-riddled defense at their disposal and possibly no Lamar Jackson. On the other hand, the Bengals want to issue a statement to the AFC North in permanent ink.
Now and for the rest of the 2021 season, the playoffs are on the line. C.J. Uzomah is taking Week 16’s matchup as serious as he should be.