Week 17 is a big one for the Cincinnati Bengals, as it is for the entire NFL. With playoff spots still open, division champions to be crowned and playoff seeding still up in the air, there is plenty to watch for this weekend.
As Bengals fans, it is important to know what is going on around the league and how it impacts the Bengals, so here is your Week 17 rooting guide:
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST
Root for: The Broncos
Reason: The Bengals still have a path to the top seed in the AFC, which would get them a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. In order for that to happen, the Bengals need to win out and have Kansas City lose one game. With the turmoil around Denver this year, it may not seem likely, but they just recently fired Nathaniel Hackett. Sometimes, teams actually respond well to a change like that and rally. In a divisional game, sometimes anything can happen. Maybe Russell Wilson has his marquee game of the season and helps the Bengals in the process.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. EST
The Steelers The Ravens to lose
Reason: Here we are again, forced to pull for the black and gold to knock off Baltimore. It didn’t work for us last time, but we need it now more than ever. A Baltimore loss paired with a Bengals win against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night would bring us a repeat of last season. On January 2nd, 2022, the Bengals knocked off the top-seeded Chiefs to clinch the AFC North crown. Exactly one year later, they could be in position to take out the top seed and clinch the division once again. Doing so would give them the option of resting starters when Baltimore comes to town in Week 18. Depending on seeding, that could be the route Zac Taylor takes if the opportunity presents itself.
Outside of the Bengals handling business, these are the two games that have the biggest postseason implications on the reigning AFC Champions, so root accordingly. The stage is set for Monday Night Football at Paycor Stadium with plenty riding on the outcome.