As we wind down to the last three weeks in the 2013 season, things are looking quite interesting atop the AFC. With the top three seeds within a game of each other altogether, there is absolutely no certainty when looking at how things will shake out. The Cincinnati Bengals, at the moment, sit at the three seed below the New England Patriots.
That could all change — very soon.
In week 15, the Bengals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime on Sunday Night Football. Let’s be completely real here: This is a game the Bengals should, can and will win to get themselves to 10-4 on the season. The Patriots, on the other hand, will play a hungry Miami Dolphins team currently fighting for the sixth and final spot.
New England is also without tight end Rob Gronkowski for the season after he suffered a torn ACL a week ago. This could mean huge problems for a Patriots offense that struggled mightily to find an identity without him.
Weeks 16 and 17, the Bengals play the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens. The toughest out of those will be against Baltimore, who may be fighting for their playoff lives on that day. Here’s the kicker, though: Both games are at home for Cincinnati.
For the Patriots, they take on Ravens as well, along with a game against the Buffalo Bills. Divisional games tend to be tough ones for the Patriots, historically. Again, they will struggle offensively without their top target in the passing game.
If the Patriots lose one game out of their final three and the Bengals win out, Cincinnati gets the number two seed. With the way the Bengals have played lately, coming off three straight wins, that could very well happen. Don’t be surprised if you see the Bengals resting the first week of the playoffs as they get ready to host a playoff game a week later.