The Bengals have earned their first back-to-back playoff berths in franchise history. But they’re not taking a victory lap as they prepare for a Week 17 game against the Ravens that won’t improve, or diminish, Cincy’s playoff positioning.
Quarterback Andy Dalton said during Thursday’s Pro Football Talk that the Bengals will keep pushing forward.
“We’re treating this just like every other week,” Dalton told Erik Kuselias. “We’re going out and we’re preparing to win the game and it’s going to be like any other week. We are playing for some momentum. The playoffs start next week so for us we want to come out and play our best and carry that momentum into the playoffs.”
Pressed on whether this means the Bengals will play hard for all sixty minutes, Dalton was a little equivocal. “That’s the plan,” he said. “As far as I know. I think it’s what we need to do. I think it’s good for the team, good to not have a break and just come out and play like we have been.”
While a significant injury to a key player will invite criticism of the approach, it makes sense for a young team like the Bengals to keep doing what it has been doing. Especially since a win over the Ravens would give the Bengals even more confidence as they head to New England or Houston or Denver for a wild-card game.
With the first consecutive non-strike playoff appearances in franchise history under their belts, the next challenge becomes doing something they haven’t done since permanently messing up Bo Jackson’s hip — win a postseason game.