This post is purely speculation and I will outline the two scenarios where I think the Bengals have the best chance to win in the post season. The most important piece is already set. The Bengals will have a home game in the playoffs and they are a far better team at home.
The first path would be the Bengals secure the number 2 seed. They allow themselves a week of rest and will face a team that just played a tough opponent. Most likely they would face the Colts at home and we know how that game played out earlier this season. Then Denver would most likely need to beat New England. This is a game where I have more confidence in the Patriots than the Broncos.
So this would allow the AFC Championship to take place in Cincinnati pitting the Pats against the Bengals. Again, I like the Bengals chances at home much better than on the road.
In scenario two, the Bengals keep the 3rd seed. They most likely play either the Chargers or Dolphins at home. I like their chances against either of these teams. Then they would be traveling to New England to face the Patriots on their home court. I can tell you I have very little confidence in this scenario.
In the final option, the Bengals lose on Sunday and end up with the 4th seed. Here they face Kansas City at home in the wild card round. The Chiefs team has played horrible defense lately and I think would be a good matchup for the Bengals.
Then the Bengals would travel to Denver (assuming the Colts beat the Chargers / Dolphins in Indy). While Denver is the top overall seed, I don't have the confidence in them that I do in the Patriots. Denver has very little defense and lost Von Miller to make it even weaker. In this scenario the Bengals would need to play the AFC Championship on the road.
Of the three scenarios, the number 2 seed favors the Bengals. After that I actually like the number 4 seed over the three. I know it would mean the Bengals lose on Sunday but it is an important thing to remember if that happens. All is not lost if the Bengals end up as the 4 seed.
What are your thoughts on the potential matchups?