Lewis could adjust plan based on early games

Ken Whisenhunt isn’t the only coach who may adjust his gameplan Sunday based on the results of early games.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says the Bengals are approaching Sunday night’s game against the Jets as one they need to win, but could change their plan depending on early outcomes.

The Bengals will know before kick off if they have a chance for the third seed in the AFC and their potential opponents with a win or a loss.  A rematch with the Jets in Cincinnati remains rather likely if Jordan Palmer plays more than his brother Carson.

“All those things, we’re going to take all those things into consideration there,” Lewis said.

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the Bengals will rest starters; the only question is how much.

That’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing for two key groups: Fans of competitive football, and the other AFC wild card contenders that have to play teams actually trying to win.

34 responses to “Lewis could adjust plan based on early games

  1. This is why NBC should have picked up the Eagles and Cowboys. No matter what happens, both teams will play hard because both have something to win or lose.

  2. Good thing NBC flexed to this game, instead of the Eagles-Cowboys game, since everybody really wants to see the Jets beat up on the Bengals reserves on a snowy 20 degree day.

  3. Don’t make the Bengals look like the bad guy here. Had the “other AFC wild card contenders” played better during the regular season, perhaps they wouldn’t have to count on the Bengals.
    I’ve been a Bengals fan for 25 years, and believe me, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re praying for the Bengals to win.
    The obvious logic is if the Texans beat the Pats, the Bengals will go for the 3 seed. But they may not if that means Pittsburgh makes the playoffs. Either way, they’ve earned the luxury of getting to decide; don’t blame them for that.

  4. “That’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing for two key groups: Fans of competitive football, and the other AFC wild card contenders that have to play teams actually trying to win.”

    Sorry, but teams should do what’s best for them. The smart fans should understand this. The AFC wild-card contenders that have to play teams trying to win shouldn’t have put themselves in a position where they have to win on the last week of the season to get in to the playoffs. Win more games next year before Week 17.

  5. As a Bengals fan, I would of rather watched the Cowboys/ Eagles as well on Sunday night. Nonetheless, with the lack of winning in Cincinnati in recent years, primetime games are a novelty.

  6. Yeah, as a Bengals fan, even I can see the error in choosing this game as a flex. This would have been a tough game for the Bengals even with all of their starters playing a full game but without that, they’re going to give the Jets an easy win. I understand the “win and in” dynamic, but when the win isn’t likely to be in any jeopardy, that dynamic is moot. I also understand the “market” argument, but aren’t Philly and Dallas in big markets too?
    The only hope NBC has is that the Patriots lose in the early game. Otherwise, the only fans that will likely stay awake to watch this one are fans of the respective teams. And Florio…with his Mark Sanchez voodoo doll…hoping he can give the Jets a loss and let the Stillers sneak into the playoffs.

  7. Damn…
    After the Colts pussed out on Sunday I saw this coming a mile away. Too little too late Steelers. Maybe if we hadn’t let up 300 freaking yards passing in the 4th Qtr to the Raiders we wouldn’t be worried about this at all. I hate it, but I can’t really blame Marvin Lewis.

  8. I’m a Bengals fan and I agree – flexing this game to Sunday night is a bad decision. From a football standpoint the Dal-Phi game is the best one. The only thing I can figure is NBC is counting on all the Pitt fans throughout the country will be glued in since it is possible their playoff hopes rely on the outcome.

  9. Also – Collingsworth’s by far the best color man on tv but I really don’t relish listening to him pump up and hyperbolate (?) on the Jets for 3 hours to prove his lack of bias.

  10. NBC has flexed more Fox/NFC games than CBS/AFC games, and the contract states that at some point they have to have flexed an even amount of games. So they have a somewhat attractive AFC game, NY is huge market, so they take the Jet game and narrow the flex gap.

  11. I wonder what the criteria for adjustment might be… HMMMM let me help the Bengals with that
    1) the other 8-7 teams lose so the game is meaningless. No need to play, dasrn league and NBC wont let us forfit
    2) Other 8-7 teams win..
    a) we play to win because we have those other teams number- we beat them 2x and dispite all of the “experts” opinion beating them a third time is easy-
    b) yeah right we wanna play Ray Lewis or possible Palli. pala… that guy with the hair. LOL
    Here is our vanilla set with our third stringers Coach Ryan- dont want to give you anything to look at- or get our back ups hurt.

  12. Guys, Dallas has had 6 prime time games. They are not eligible for the game. FOX wouldnt allow NBC to take them anyway.
    Cincy is going to lay down because they would rather play the Jets than the Ravens.
    AFC is set: Ravens at Patriots Jets at Bengals. Lock it. Load it.

  13. Uh the NFL not NBC decided which game to flex.
    And Florio happens to be a Vikes fan not Steelers.
    Hey Shinsnake where is the political angle? You bring politics into everything. Slipping?

  14. the likely scenario for the Bengals will be to win and host the Ravens…or lose and host the Jests…hmmmm wonder what they’ll do.
    Thing that pisses me off isn’t the teams that won’t get in because the Bengals won’t even try to win…it’s that the Jests will get in by beating back-ups 2 weeks in a row. I thought you had to earn a playoff birth…but apparently you can just get lucky and fall into one.

  15. I know fans of other teams have complained about how often NFC East teams are showcased in primetime, but c’mon. Now this means that the last Sunday night game will be a snoozer where the Bengals rest their starters against a Jets team with slim playoff hopes? I hope Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth both bring newspapers, so they can read to the viewing audience.

  16. Oh come on Whodey08. It’s pretty clear that Florio truly does hate every team. His negative outlook on the world as a whole negates his childhood growing up rooting for the Steelers. He just likes to stir sh!t up. I don’t blame him, many people come here just to complain…

  17. Whodey08
    Sorry junior, you haven’t been paying attention long enough or you would have seen plenty of comments from me with no political angle. But hey, if you’re so desperately in need of your daily fix, I’m sure I could whip up some witty banter from deep within my repertoire about NBC…

  18. The best game to Flex was Ravens at Raiders. Atleast the Raiders would try to win and Pittsburgh fans would have a reason to watch this game.
    Bengals will play their backups and lose badly. They have zero incentive to win.

  19. Shinsnake,
    If the Patriots lose the early game, it gives more incentive for the Bengals to lose. The 4th seed goes to INDY round 2. The 3rd seed goes to San Diego. Which team would you rather face right now?

  20. Florio, again, you’re a reporter, act with some professionalism. Every time you have even the slightest opportunity to get a dig in about the Bengals, you do. STILL picking sour grape pieces from your teeth? My goodness, get a toothpick sore loser.
    Disappointing for fans of competitive football? By that do you mean fans of teams that put themselves behind the eight ball? What a Schpag.

  21. Dan
    Hmm, I don’t know that it much matters as both are tough, tough games. I guess I would rather the Bengals face Indy since they will have mostly rested their starters for 3 straight weeks, but the Bengals played well against San Diego. I’m usually of the mindset to go for the highest seed you can get until you can’t get any higher seed.
    Beyond that philosophy, I think they have to worry about their first round game before anything else. If they’re resting their starters because they don’t want to play San Diego, they’ve got little chance of getting that far to begin with.

  22. @ draken
    Sadly, that vanilla the Bengals are going to show the Jets is the exact offensive playbook they’d use if they were in the superbowl.
    @ mburger13
    So the jets get in because they play indy and cincy’s second team…all the steelers had to do was beat KC or CLE (I’d say the raiders, but they beat the Bengals, and that would ruin my point)…KC/CLE vs. Colts/Bengals backups = push.
    @ Dan
    Last week, the bengals lost to SD in cali on a last second field goal. I don’t think the bengals would prefer to play one over the other (except that indy is closer geographically.)

  23. Dan,
    As a Bengal fan I will take SD. We took them to the last second in SD and we didn’t even play that well. I have no doubt we can knock them off.
    Peyton worries me.

  24. what about ‘competitive balance’? the nfl should not be flexing games in week 17 with these types of playoff implications every season.

  25. Hey, the Bengals will learn how to lose to the Jets this weekend so they can lose again, the following week. Two losses in a row? It brings me to tears. And the Bengals haven’t played well since the death of Chris Henry. History is replete with NFL teams that lost one of their own and went on to have a disasterous season. They’re only human.
    As far as the Steelers getting in, I’m of two minds on that. It’s fun to see them play but every game leaves one a nervous wreck! This years Steelers should be called the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech.

  26. I’m a steeler fan and I agree they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. But from a NFL perspective, do the Jets deserve to get in by winning two games against teams playing it safe?
    I think as long as the leauge allows it teams will do what’s best for them, as they should. I just liked football alot more when teams played to win.
    Like I said the steelers don’t deserve to be in, but the jets are basically getting a free pass to be an easy out in the playoffs.

  27. Some good points in this blog (not Gregg Rosenthal, but random bloggers). Pitt fans will definitely be watching this game, so that gives three markets, which is the reason for the flex. I would love to see JT O’ and Jordan Palmer playing, so when the Jetts win, they will play the Bengals the following week. How about a straight Jim Tressel game plan, LJ instead of Benson, all game. Run the ball, avoid injuries, come out the following week, in the “Jungle”, and bloody the Jett’s noses. Who Dey! Let’s get to Miami. PS Gregg Rosenthal, Carson Palmer will make you eat your Flacco is a better QB statement, yeah, we didn’t forget that.

  28. If you were the Bengals coach (which you’re not, so sorry), how could you possibly want Pittsburgh in the playoffs? This is not an insult to the Steelers, but the ultimate respect. Ben R. in a one game elimination tourney and a ridiculous set of linebackers? Maybe even the return of Troy. No thank you!

  29. So many thoughts on this one. Obviously, as a Steelers fan, I want the Bengals to play to win. But I think the Bengals need to do what’s best for the Bengals. I certainly don’t equate their decision-making in this game with the Colts throwing away the chance to go undefeated. Two totally different scenarios. If we’d had a better season, we wouldn’t have to depend on wins by other teams to get us into the playoffs, so that’s on us.
    Having said all that, it bugs me when any team takes a game off. People pay to see the starters, not the also-rans. The NFL gripes about selling out games–well, you can’t expect people to pay good money to go to games if they’re not going to see the first team. I also believe hungry teams win championships. Take the Steelers out of the equation, and I think it would be in the Bengals’ best interest to play hard. But that’s Marv’s call to make.
    The NFL, however, should have flexed a game that would be a sure-fire winner to this slot. This was a stupid decision.

  30. Why’s everyone so hard on the Jets? They played competitive football last week and won. Be pissed at the Colts. Hell, Revis is annoyed cuz he wanted to play the Colts all game to test himself.
    Jets have some opportunities, and they’re taking advantage of them. Sorry that some of y’all teams lost to the Browns, Raiders, Chiefs. It ain’t the Jets fault.

  31. the best game to flex would have been raiders – ravens…the raiders (who have a rabid national fanbase) will be playing to win and have played well lately and the entire AFC would watch because the game would have major playoff team and seeding impact after a day full of games with playoff implications…NBC whiffed on this.

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