This is the real game of the week people! The Cincinnati Bengals are taking on the Denver Broncos tonight for Monday Night Football and it has the promise of a doozy. There are a lot of playoff implications in the AFC regarding this game and it's not even just for the two teams playing.
If the Bengals win they will guarantee themselves at worst the number 2 spot in the AFC and give them a 1st round bye at 12-3 with one last game to go. That record would tie them with the New England Patriots but New England would still be the top seed in a tie because they played the harder schedule. The Bengals would need to win out and have the Patriots lose next week to steal home field advantage, a loss tonight however moves them to 3rd in the AFC playoff race.
The Broncos are in an even more interesting position. A win moves them up to the two seed with one game remaining, while a loss pushes them behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the division makes Denver the 6th seed in the playoffs. Talk about a difference! They either will be controlling their own destiny for a playoff bye, or fighting just to get into the playoffs depending on the outcome tonight.
The other playoff match up that could be decided by today's outcome is that of the Houston Texans. A Bengals win would affect the strength of schedule for the AFC South race so much that it would clinch the division for the Texans over the Colts, while a Broncos win keeps the Colts playoff hopes alive and well.
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
TV Broadcast: ESPN with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters (field reporter)
National Radio: Westwood One with Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Jim Miller (field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Cin), 93 (Den). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (Cin), 226 (Den).
Weather: 29 degrees and partly cloudy with a very small chance of rain, per Weather Underground
Odds: The Broncos opened as a 3.5-point favorite, per Odds Shark.