As a system analyst at my day job, there are times when I run "jobs" that takes time to complete, offering a bit of a break to relax. So I turned to twitter for a Q and A.
The Bengals will beat the Minnesota Vikings -- look, if Cincinnati fails to beat the Vikings (who are playing well lately), then the Bengals simply do not deserve a postseason berth.
While the Baltimore Ravens are celebrating two physically exhausting and mentally draining wins over the Minnesota and Detroit, the New England Patriots lost a shocker to the Miami Dolphins last weekend. I think the Patriots will rebound to beat the Ravens, securing the AFC East and giving Cincinnati the AFC North Championship.
In the end, I see the Bengals finishing 10-6 with the division title and the No. 3 seed.
Unless the Bengals and Ravens game is flexed to the 8:30 p.m time slot for the regular season finale, they won't know what happens between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills (since they're playing at the same time). I see the Bengals placing more valuing in resting their starters (this defense is exhausted) in the regular season finale rather than going full-go for four quarters and hoping for a favorable return in New England.
@CincyJungle how confident are you that the bengals will make the playoffs?— Troy Zeigler (@tzig44) December 17, 2013
Except for the three minutes following Cincinnati's loss in Pittsburgh, I'm extremely confident that Cincinnati will be playing in the postseason.
"It is always darkest just before the day dawneth".
@CincyJungle who do you want us to face in the first round of the playoffs? I say dolphins— Kyle Brown (@MrKabro) December 17, 2013
I love a good redemption story, too. Let's play the whole song and beat the Dolphins in the first round and the Niners in the Super Bowl. The world would lose their s***.
@CincyJungle scared of the Chiefs?— SofaKing (@OraleHarvey) December 17, 2013
This is a match-up that I would actually like to see. A good running offense with a serviceable manager at quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs rely heavily on their defense -- however the two sides have exchanged strengths, with their offense scoring points and their defense allowing it.
I think Cincinnati's defense can contain (not stop) Jamaal Charles and prevent any big plays with Kansas City's passing game. Hell, I want Jamaal Charles. The wild card of course, which has been the case all season, is Cincinnati's offense. Regardless, this is a game that I wouldn't mind seeing.
@CincyJungle Why? Why do we always shrivel when we have the chance to shine?? Is it Marvin, or something different?— Mike Thomas (@MikeThomas_1970) December 17, 2013
I might be in the minority, but I don't think it's Lewis -- despite the overwhelming record that contradicts my perspective. Players and coaches have raved all season about how their character is strong and that Cincinnati's roster is loaded with leadership. Additionally, these are grown men playing a man's sport. If these "leaders" and grown men with great character can't find the motivation within themselves during a significant game, then what could Lewis say that would ignite that flame.
Also, I disregard the overall prime time and playoff record for one reason: This roster IS different from previous teams. Chad Johnson, Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Think any of them inspired their teammates to demand perfection? Think any of them would listen to Lewis in the first place?
I wouldn't argue against those blaming Lewis though. But I do think it's an easy out and a free pass for the players.
@cincyjungle Personally how do you think Kirkpatrick did?— Sean Snuff McMahon (@wolfkaosaun) December 17, 2013
I do see the talent and potential there. Yes, given time he'll get better and yes, I do believe that the Bengals should give him a shot to start next season. However, time isn't a luxury and it could significantly affect Cincinnati right now and that's what concerns me. The stakes are high. But they're out of options.
@CincyJungle do the bengals have a favorable match-up against the Vikings?— Alex Bates (@CBJAlex_lax) December 17, 2013
If Cincinnati's offense needs a game to really get back into sync, this would be it. The Vikings are ranked 31st in overall defense, scoring defense, and third downs allowed. They're 30th in passing defense, dead last in passing touchdowns allowed and 26th in opposing quarterback rating.
Andy Dalton has also been playing well in the month of December. Over the course of his last three games, he's completed 62 percent of his passes, generated 695 yards passing with six touchdowns and only one pick (none in two straight games). Additionally, he's 351 yards passing away from being the second quarterback (Carson Palmer) in franchise history to generate 4,000 yards passing or more in a season. And when he throws his next touchdown, it'll be a career-high for him.
To me, Dalton is a good game manager (that's not a negative), but he needs everything around him in a state of perfection to thrive. Hopefully that happens on Sunday (and every game afterward).
@CincyJungle worried about the D? Looked pretty vulnerable Sunday night— Derf (@derftron) December 17, 2013
I'm not worried about the defense overall... just yet.
But the rise in missed tackles and the lack of a recent pass rush is concerning. Additionally, I do think that the offense needs to start doing their part and stop relying on the defense to bail them out of situations. Too many defensive players are absorbing a majority of the team's snaps and they're becoming more and more exhausted every time that Cincinnati's offense goes three and out.
@CincyJungle I think we match up better against Broncos than Chiefs. Do you agree?— Mike Hudson (@mikehudsonsucks) December 17, 2013
Not at all. Peyton Manning owns us. If I have a choice between the Broncos and everyone else, I'm picking the field. I'm a wimp. I admit it. I'd rather avoid him than prove that we can beat him. Let someone else do that. Give us the Patriots (if we're the third seed and win the first playoff game).
@CincyJungle due to current ages and contracts, do you see CBs as a draft priority?— Richard Game (@blahmed) December 17, 2013
Not right now, but a lot can happen in the next five months. Leon Hall will return and we'll see what we have with Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones and Terence Newman. But if someone makes the argument and the team eventually uses a first round pick to draft a cornerback, I'm alright with that. In the end, I believe that Cincinnati needs to keep building the defense while developing the offense.