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Bengals season finale against the Steelers could be flexed in Week 17

Taking a look at the possibility that the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers could be flexed into the Sunday Night Football slot for the regular season finale.

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals will host the Denver Broncos this weekend for Monday Night Football, and then conclude the season with a road trip to Pittsburgh for a (possible) epic finale against the Steelers. And it's a finale that could have significant implications for the AFC North championship.

The question is: Will the Bengals be flexed by NBC for their Sunday Night game on Dec. 28?

That's a question that was asked to Paul Dehner Jr. with the Cincinnati Enquirer, who believes that the four eligible games comes down to the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dehner projects that Detroit and Green Bay is favorable for flexing the game into primetime and for good reason. Along with being a game that could determine the division, "it has star power, it has Lambeau, everything NBC would want." And that is fine with me. For professional and personal reasons, I'd much rather have the Bengals kicking off at 1 p.m anyway. Although I'm not sure where Dehner gets an arbitrary number like "21 percent chance" that the Bengals "get flexed."

However, this scenario depends on Week 16. The Bengals host the Broncos while the Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs -- who are still alive in the wild card.

  • If the Bengals win and the Steelers lose, that eliminates the Steelers from the division title.
  • If both teams win this weekend, then the AFC North will be determined between the Bengals and Steelers in Week 17.
  • If both teams lose this weekend and the Baltimore Ravens win out, then the Ravens win the division.
  • If Cincinnati loses and the Steelers win in Week 16, and then Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh, the Ravens win the division if they win out.
  • On the other hand, if Cincinnati beats the Broncos, and the Steelers and Ravens both lose, the Bengals claim the AFC North title on Monday Night football.
Anyway, there are plenty of scenarios and Week 17 could have significant implications. The NFL won't announce the Sunday Night game until six days in advance, to ensure that the game will have significant playoff implications.