I wonder: About the Bengals playoff chances.

...if we're going to actually hear about Chad Johnson's celebration during rare domination.

In his weekly "observations" Mike Sando says:

Wide receiver Chad Johnson stole the spotlight against the Titans by posing behind an end zone camera. His long history of antics, coupled with the Bengals' inability to field a championship roster, has prevented Palmer from gaining the recognition he deserves.

I don't understand the comment. Palmer is widely regarded as one of the most talented quarterbacks playing in the NFL. Not to mention, he won the Pro Bowl MVP last year. Just saying, he gets recognized. But recognition has never been an issue with Palmer. Mike, take the time out of your day and watch Palmer at the press conference or simply read his quotes. He's unassuming and modest as hell. He genuinely wants to help the team win and if it was primarily his choice, he'd never talk to the media. Being recognized isn't something he seeks. Even so, he's still recognized as one of the top quarterbacks playing.

If you're going to complain about Palmer's recognition, then why does the company you work for headline Johnson's name rather than Palmer's in the post-game recap piece? Is this something internal? Perhaps it's simply a gaff, as they say -- and I'm not referring to the Gulf Atlantic Florida Fishing magazine. Like I said, I just didn't get the comment. But the point was driven. It really has nothing to do with Palmer. It has everything to do with Chad Johnson's celebration

I'm not going to make a stink about DEFENDING Chad's celebration. I figure the team is all that matters, not the misguided sensitivities of either the national or local media. And John Thornton, the one of the team's Captains, said:

"He deserved it," defensive captain John Thornton said, approving of Johnson's celebration. "He's been working hard. I told him to keep it up. I told him if he needs a penalty to get himself going, go ahead."

Now, I'm assuming that it doesn't matter what the Captain -- not some ordinary fellow in the lockerroom -- approved. Why? Because we need something to point out that's fatally wrong with this team. Just observe this week. It'll be like Chad converted into a werewolf that's 50 times worse than Satan and rummaged through an orphanage. Seriously, just observe and you'll learn the definition of over-reaction. But as long as the word "if" applies -- like "if" the Bengals lost by the three points the Titans recorded after Chad's first touchdown as if HE were fully responsible for the Titans driving down the field for a field goal -- only to hindsight and backseat drivers, then we're alright.

I probably won't dig into the topic anymore -- the team won, that's all I care about. But let's take a few pictures taken by Jeff Swinger from the Cincinnati Enquirer on Chad's celebrations.

This picture actually shows the weight of Cincinnati lift off both Marvin and Chad's shoulders.

Since we think that, unless you want to avoid a double-negative that you could be preaching about Marvin applying towards Chad, we also want to celebrate Chad's celebration with his big offensive linemen.

Finally, here's a picture of Chad and Palmer celebrating. The best of all. Recognize!

...how a few minutes in a standard year can be that big of a difference.

I don't think we had a chance against the Bills. We ensured a loss no matter what we did. Instead, go back to the Arizona game. A game we really should have won. The team's 5-6 record -- sitting in the world of elves, Hobbits and Wizards -- would create a scenario that would have the Bengals breathing down the Browns' necks. The Browns have the second wild card spot. Even so, there's five games left this season. Could the Bengals accidentally fall into the playoffs? If they plan to, they have to beat Pittsburgh and Cleveland. The others -- St. Louis (PBS), at San Francisco and at Miami -- are very winnable games. When Chad Johnson told Peter King Sunday Night that the Bengals could run the table if they beat Pittsburgh, he wasn't kidding. But in order for the Bengals to have a shot, they must win out.

Being 4-7 means you need help. A lot of it. I don't expect to overtake the Steelers for the division, but a Wild Card after the Jacksonville Jaguars -- need I remind you, isn't the most consistent of teams in recent seasons -- is very realistic. Then you look at the Browns remaining schedule. They don't face anyone, currently, with a winning record. The "Home/Away" means their opponent's season record at either home or away.

Week Opponent Record Home/Away
Week 13 @ Arizona 5-6 3-2
Week 14 @ NY Jets 2-9 2-4
Week 15 Buffalo 5-6 2-3
Week 16 @ Cincinnati 4-7 3-3
Week 17 San Francisco 3-8 2-4
    18-36  

The one thing going for the Bengals is that Sunday is a remarkably nerve-wrecking (yes, wrecking) day for teams like the Browns clutching on that sixth playoff seed with their lives. Upsets are inevitable -- especially against teams that have plenty to prove but nothing to lose. What works against the Bengals? The Browns have a pretty fluff schedule remaining. Another thing going for the Bengals however is that the Browns still sport the league's worst defense. Here's hoping that bites them.

The Buffalo loss could have lasting affects also. The Bills (5-6) beat the Bengals and now own the tie-breaker. But their road during the season's remaining five games is much more difficult than the Browns.

Week Opponent Record Home/Away
Week 13 @ Washington 5-6 3-2
Week 14 Miami 0-10 0-5
Week 15 @ Cleveland 7-4 5-1
Week 16 NY Giants 7-4 4-1
Week 17 @ Philadelphia 5-6 2-3
    24-30  

Note: Washington, Philadelphia and New York (Giants) are 6-2 against the AFC. We need the Browns to beat the Bills. Well, in fact, we need everyone to beat the Bills and then everyone to beat the Browns. I understand there's other teams out there that are in the same boat as the Bengals. Such as Titans (6-5), Broncos (5-6) and Chiefs (4-7 and tie-breaker against Cincinnati). So, like I said, we need a lot of help. But it's there. Of course, then there's Pittsburgh...

...if Cincinnati will actually not be eliminated from the playoffs by Pittsburgh like the past two years.

Blitzburgh said, "Honestly, I'm a bit surprised by the decision. The Jaguars at the Colts seems like a more obvious choice, with 1st place on the line in the AFC South." There's truth to that. And if I were a casual football observer, with no major interests in either game, the Jags and Colts might be the more entertaining match-up. But the thing with flex scheduling is that networks feared NBC would cherry-pick their best games. So the league heavily consults with the networks to help everyone preserve their marquee games. No way in their right mind would CBS allow the Colts and Jaguars be moved off their networks. Fox has the Saints and Buccaneers, Giants and Bears, Seattle and Philadelphia and the Lions and Vikings (the team that smoked Eli Manning and the Giants). Irregardless, the Bengals and Steelers prove to be the more interesting match-up. Why?

There's history there. The Bengals, until redemption sought after 2005 Wild Card Game #1, were shutout of last year's playoffs after Santonio Holmes scored on a 67-yard pass -- more like 10-yard pass, missed tackle and open field. The loss eliminated the Bengals from the playoffs. In a way, the Steelers have been the one road block in the past two seasons for the Bengals post-season plans. They've eliminated us twice in the past two seasons.

The game itself might mean little if the Bengals win. If we lose, then we'll ensure the season will not finish above .500. If we win, then we drag out our playoff chances for one another week.

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