With the Jets playing for a postseason berth on Sunday night and the Bengals already in and having no shot at securing a bye, the Bengals won’t go hard against the Jets, right?
NBC’s Cris Collinsworth believes that the Bengals will go for the win, which will deliver the No. 3 seed. This would give the Bengals a wild-card game at home against the Texans — who beat the Bengals earlier this season — and a division-round game back in San Diego, where the Bengals nearly won.
The third seed also would provide the Bengals with a shot at hosting the AFC title game, if the top two seeds are upset in the divisional round. (And it’s not far-fetched; last year, the Cardinals hosted the NFC Championship as the fourth seed.)
If the Bengals lose to the Jets, they’ll fall to the AFC’s fourth seed, and they’ll host the Jets next weekend.
So, either way, the Bengals will be playing on wild-card weekend a team to which they lost during the regular season.
Meanwhile, Tony Dungy of NBC’s Football Night in America believes that Pats coach Bill Belichick prefers the fourth seed in order to secure a shot at the Colts before having to play in San Diego.