While you ponder how the Patriots should approach Sunday’s game against the Texans, it’s worth considering the Bengals’ control over said situation.
Pro Football Talk noted earlier this morning how Cincinnati can oust the rival Steelers (whom they lost to in their only playoff game in the last 17 years) by losing on Sunday. I’ll take it a step further …
As of this moment, the Jets are the fifth seed, and the Bengals are fourth, so if things remain the same, then the two teams will meet again during wild-card weekend. If Cinci loses Sunday, it’s likely that will happen. And there are a few reasons why this scenario is preferable from the Bengals’ standpoint.
First, it means playing a rookie quarterback in Round 1, and not, potentially, a division rival (Baltimore or Pittsburgh.) Second, it would allow the Bengals to get a great look at the Jets — who will be desperate to win that one — while not showing their own hand. Third, it would probably mean Indy (that is, if the Patriots win too), and not San Diego, in Round 2, and in case you don’t know, the home of the Colts is about 90 minutes away from the Queen City. Fourth, there’s the rest factor, for a team that’s been through a lot in a few weeks.
Either way, Cincinnati will go into that game knowing the scenarios, since by the time their prime-timer kicks off, the other 15 games of the day will be done.