If you're like me, you get nervous about some of the most trivial things. Such as making sure you save your game every chance you get so you don't have to replay an entire level on Dragon Age, spending 20 minutes to conquer minions of the Blight. Another thing that gets me nervous, especially since we've seen a collapse before, is that for the past few weeks the Bengals only needed to win one game to clinch the AFC North. That doesn't sound anything like 2006, does it? And honestly, for the past few weeks, I've settled on the fact that I do believe we'll clinch it before the season ends. I do believe that the Bengals will make the playoffs. Damn it, the Bengals are making it too interesting.
Before playing the Minnesota Vikings on December 6, the Bengals and Chargers were 9-3. Since then, the Chargers are 11-3 and the Bengals are 9-5. Cincinnati is eliminated from winning the second seed, have fallen from the third seed and now occupy the fourth seed after the Patriots beat the Bills pushing them into the third seed by a tie-breaker (strength of victory I think). Granted, Cincinnati has played two playoff opponents in the past two weeks, Minnesota and San Diego, that currently sport 22 wins combined. Cincinnati lost both games and lost three of their past five (wins against the Browns and the Lions), while still one win away from clinching the AFC North. Things have stalled. Progress slow, if at all existent. Too interesting indeed.
Theoretically, the Bengals should beat Kansas City. Realistically, the Bengals have played down to their opponents this year. However, the reality of Chris Henry's passing could largely impact the team while most of the players and coaches head to New Orleans for Henry's funeral. The Jets are playing decent football, winning three of their past four, and will play their guts out no matter what their playoff implications are at that point. Could the Bengals lose their final two games? My heart says no, of course not. That's ridiculous. Curse you, Kirkendall. String him up alive, boys. On the other hand... well we go there until next week depending on what Cincinnati does with Kansas City.
Baltimore plays Pittsburgh, who have lost five of their past six games. After Pittsburgh, the Ravens head to Oakland. It's a very real possibility that the Ravens win out. All of this can be avoided if the Bengals win one of their two games. Just a win. That's all. However, Cincinnati's recent losses have pushed the Bengals into the fourth seed, which means that Cincinnati will play the top Wild Card team -- right now, the Baltimore Ravens.
Why do the Bengals have to make it so interesting?