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Round Table: Talking NFL playoffs predictions and expectations

The crew at CJ had an improved open thread on Wednesday and shared what was discussed.

Jim Rogash

Some of us on Cincy Jungle's staff actually has a staff room to discuss potential stories, schedules and everything else behind the scenes. Every once in a while, we'll hold an improvised open thread, which happened today. So, completely without their knowledge, I've converted what we talked about into a posting. A raw look at some of the biggest debates affecting Cincinnati.

Mickey Mentzer: Could the regular season finale between the Bengals and Ravens get flexed?
Josh Kirkendall: They won't announce the week 17 game until after the week 16 games are completed.
Mickey: If it comes down to a No. 2 seed, I bet it gets flexed.
Nick Seuberling: There's no way that NBC takes the Ravens/Bengals over the Cowboys/Eagles.
Mickey: Bengals/Ravens, last game of the year to decide the No. 2 seed?

Anthony Cosenza: If Dallas loses this week, they won't flex that game on week 17.
Josh: Sadly, more fans, media and general interest will rule, so I see the Cowboys/Eagles before the Bengals and Ravens.
Anthony: Why is nobody listening to me?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! If Philly wins and Dallas loses in Week 16, that game won't be flexed to SNF.
Josh: I just hope to the God of all things that we're not flexed. To hell with that.
Mickey: I want the national audience, at home.
Nick: The last thing that we need is the added pressure of a win on national television.
Mickey: Anyone heard from Anthony today?

Anthony: You guys just know that our game against Baltimore is going to determine a lot. It's just going to play out that way.
Nick: None of that matters if we s*** the bed on Sunday against Minnesota.
Anthony: It still will. Even if Baltimore wins this weekend and we lose, the Week 17 game is HUGE!
Josh: If New England beats Baltimore and Cincinnati beats Minnesota, we secure the AFC North. And I believe that the Bengals will rest their starters in week 17.
Mickey: Agreed.

Nick: New England just doesn't lose two games in a row. I think they'll beat the Ravens.
Anthony: I thought Detroit would take care of them at home. But think about the Ravens wins over the past few weeks - they beat us in overtime, beat Minnesota in final seconds and Detroit on a 61-yarder.
Nick: Flukey. That's why I think New England wins.
Mickey: But, they win. It will be a good game.

Josh: I'll give Baltimore credit for pulling wins out of their collective asses. But two emotionally and physically draining wins against the Vikings and Lions, plus New England having lost one in Miami? I'm not sure Baltimore pulls this one out. In the end, we just have to win out.

Anthony: Really, either scenario in the Baltimore and New England game could play into the Bengals' favor, if they beat the Vikings.
Josh: I don't want week 17 to be important. Would rather clinch this weekend, rather than risking it all for week 17 where we could still miss the entire playoffs in that scenario. Not that we have a choice in the matter but if the Bengals fail to make the postseason, things will get really, really, bad.
Anthony: I'm just saying that even if Baltimore wins, it still COULD be a good thing for Cincinnati in the long run.

Anthony: So are we all in agreement that Baltimore gets in as a wild card, then?
Josh: No. If Miami wins out and Baltimore only wins one of the next two, they are out entirely.
Anthony: You think Miami makes it over Baltimore? If both go 1-1, Baltimore is in, right?
Josh: Easier schedule. They have the Bills and then the Jets and Miami is playing good ball right now. However, Baltimore holds the tiebreaker with a head-to-head win.
Anthony: Yes, they have two easier games, but those are also two divisional games. Anything can happen in those.
Nick: Miami's schedule is weak, but I can see them losing in Buffalo after an emotional win against the Patriots.
Anthony: I see your point. I'd rather that Cincinnati hosts Miami than Baltimore.
Josh: Yea, I want to f*** 'em up for week nine... or eight...
Nick: Halloween
Josh: I just want some f***in' up going down.

Josh: Miami has won four of their past five games.
Nick: Yea, they're on a roll.
Josh: But Miami did lose to Buffalo earlier this year.
Nick: And that was at home too.
Anthony: I still see Miami and Baltimore going 1-1 and the Ravens getting in. Harbaugh has never missed the playoffs as the Ravens' coach.
Josh: What makes you say that though, AC? Other than "it's the division game" or about Harbaugh. Miami is playing well, Buffalo has won 2 of their last seven and NY has lost four of their last five.
Anthony: The division game and Harbaugh arguments hold quite a bit of weight, IMO. And Baltimore has won five of their last six.
Josh: Right. So factor where teams are at and the schedule that they facing. Miami plays Buffalo and NY, who have won a combined four games in November and December combined. I don't think they'll lose those games.

Nick: Monday night's win was only the Ravens second road win of the year.
Josh: Miami nearly beat Carolina too. Panthers needed a TD with 46 seconds remaining to win. And that was the first time they led, save for the first possession of the game.
Anthony: I get what you guys are saying and don't discredit it. I just trust Baltimore more to come through late in the season than I do Miami. Coaching, rosters, etc. Miami's schedule may be more favorable than Baltimore's, but this is the time of the year when Baltimore plays its best ball. I still think both teams go 1-1 and Ravens get in over the Dolphins. It's not what I HOPE for, but I think it's the most likely.
Josh: Just for disclosure, part of my argument is hoping that Baltimore gets screwed.
Anthony: I knew it was.

Mickey: Has anyone seen Anthony?