NFL Week 12 rooting interest guide for Bengals fans
The Cincinnati Bengals are in the thick of the playoff race as they travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans in a rematch of last year's divisional game. While we all know that a win helps the Bengals, they can still get help from other teams in the league. Let's take a look at which teams you should root for this weekend in order to help the Bengals earn not just a playoff spot, but the best seed possible.
Thursday, 12:30 p.m. EST, Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
Support the Lions
Reason: Buffalo, currently the fifth seed, has a one-win advantage over the Bengals in the record books. While it appeared early in the season that the Bills would walk to the top seed in the AFC, they have shown flaws and are coming off an emotional week after a snowstorm cut down on practice time and forced their game to be moved out of their own stadium. They will, ironically, be playing in Detroit for the second week in a row.
The Bengals taking care of business, combined with the Lions pulling the upset, would bring Buffalo to 7-4, allowing the Bengals to match their record and stay on track. We are just a little more than a month away from the Monday Night Football matchup between Buffalo and Cincinnati, so keeping up with them will be critical if the Bengals are to win the head-to-head matchup on January 2nd and pass Buffalo in the playoff picture.
Although it is unlikely, anything can happen on Thanksgiving, right?
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST, New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings
Support the Vikings
Reason: The Bengals are currently the seventh seed, while New England is the sixth seed. If the Bengals can win in Tennessee and the Vikings win on Thanksgiving, Cincinnati will be in a better position at the end of the week.
Another reason is that the Patriots visit Cincinnati on Christmas Eve, so if New England loses to Minnesota, it will be one more loss on their record before the Bengals have the opportunity to pick up a crucial head-to-head win as the regular season comes to a close. Say what you want about the Patriots' current state, but we should avoid visiting New England in the postseason if at all possible.
On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will face the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Support the Jaguars
Reason: Despite an 0-3 start to division play, the Bengals still have a chance to win the AFC North and host a playoff game at home. This path begins with the Jaguars pulling off an upset on Sunday. Baltimore hasn't looked particularly strong in recent weeks, so Trevor Lawrence has a chance to knock off one of the league's top quarterbacks and add to his resume. Bengals fans will undoubtedly appreciate it.
In essence, you must root against Baltimore every week. The Bengals' Week 18 game in Cincinnati will not only provide an opportunity for vengeance, but also a chance to secure their second-straight AFC North title.
On Sunday, the Houston Texans will face the Miami Dolphins at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Support the Texans
Reason: Miami has looked good since Tua's return, but the Bengals have another chance to win, match Miami's record, and still have the head-to-head win if it comes down to it in January. If Cincinnati can handle their business down the stretch, that September victory could be crucial in securing a higher seed than Miami.
Do you recognize Davis Mills? If you don't, just hope he has a good game on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Chicago Bears will face the New York Jets at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Support the Bears
Reason: Despite averaging 2.7 inches per offensive play in the second half last week (no, seriously), the Jets are still in contention for a playoff spot. The Jets, who are currently tied for eighth place with the Bengals, would miss the playoffs if the season ended today. Having said that, they have the same record as the Bengals, a better record in their division, and a better record against the AFC. Fortunately, the Bengals defeated the Jets in Week 3, so they would get the nod if everything ended today.
The Jets look like a legitimate threat some weeks and, well, the Jets other weeks. Supporting Ohio State alum Justin Fields is the best bet this week. If the Bengals win, it will be another loss on their record, keeping them from closing in on the defending AFC Champions.
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EST, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Support the Colts
Reason: This game has no bearing on the Bengals' playoff chances, but rooting against Pittsburgh is the right thing to do.
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