It's that time of year when you have to seriously consider that, save for an absolute breakdown, that the Cincinnati Bengals will reach the postseason for a franchise-best third consecutive year. The Bengals have five games remaining while the rest of the division will play their 11th game this weekend, which will reduce Cincinnati's 2.5-game lead to two games.
Regardless, per an NFL directive, all teams are preparing for potential home games that the Bengals will host if they secure the AFC North.
"Our football team has worked hard to be in a position where we could host some home playoff games, and we are looking forward to a strong December," said Bengals executive vice-president Katie Blackburn. "Given where the team stands, the process needs to start now, and we want to accommodate our season ticket holders first. Once we have met their needs, we will work to make tickets available to other fans."
As a first priority, season ticket holders will have the chance to purchase their seats for the playoffs, plus additional tickets they may desire. After that, available tickets will be offered to other customers who have secured priority over the general public.
All fans may presently secure priority with purchase of a new Holiday Power Pack. With this deal, fans buying tickets to the last two regular-season games, Dec. 22 vs. Minnesota and Dec. 29 vs. Baltimore, will receive the added benefit of guaranteed access to buy playoff tickets.
"The Holiday Pack is the best way for non-season ticket holders to buy playoff tickets, well ahead of any possible public sale," said Andrew Brown, Bengals ticket sales manager.
Interested fans should call 513-621-8383, or they can buy online at Bengals.com.
Fans who bought multi-game Ticket Packs earlier this season will also have an opportunity to purchase playoff tickets, with specific information to be available at a later date.
Possible playoff ticket availability to the general public will be determined pending the results of the earlier steps.
Presently, there is potential for the Bengals to host up to two playoff games. Under the NFL’s playoff format, no team can host three games.
The AFC division champions seeded third and fourth in the conference will host games in the first round (Wild Card round, Jan. 4 or 5) against Wild Card qualifiers. Those division champions would play on the road if they advance to the second round (Divisional round, Jan. 11 or 12). They would be paired against the AFC’s top two seeds, who will receive byes in the Wild Card round.
Of the two teams advancing from the Divisional round games, the higher-seeded team will host the AFC Championship game (Jan. 19).
Wild Card qualifiers will play all their playoff games on the road unless both Wild Cards advance to the Championship game, in which case the higher-seeded Wild Card (fifth seed) would host the Championship.
Bengals season ticket holders are being sent invoices covering their current seats for the two possible home games. For any games not played, season ticket holders may have the payment applied to their seats for 2014, or they may apply for a refund. The invoices are based on the possibility of the Bengals hosting games in the Divisional and Championship rounds. If the first game hosted is in the Wild Card round, rather than the Divisional, the price will be lower, and season ticket holders may apply the difference to their seats for 2014 or apply for a refund.
The NFL determines playoff ticket pricing.