Monday Night Football will be a powder keg of emotions. It will be the game of the season, for both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos. There will be a lot on the line, as the two franchises battle again for position in the playoffs. At one time, the Bengals needed to beat the Broncos to advance to the postseason. Now, the situation has made a dramatic turn. The Broncos need to win or risk being snubbed for the big dance.
In almost the same scenario as last year, the home field needs to defeat the visiting team in order to make the playoffs. The visiting team was in a position to be seeded higher in the postseason. In a wild twist of fate, the Broncos are in desperate need of a win to stay afloat for the No. 2 position.
This year, the Bengals must travel to the Mile High City to battle Denver at Sports Authority Field. As reported by the Bleacher Report, the Broncos are in danger of losing the AFC West. After a blazing start, the season comes down to the final two games. The red-hot Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) have won eight straight games and are threatening to overtake the Broncos. Denver is 3-2 with Brock Osweiler. He’s struggled against teams in the second half.
The game in Denver is essentially a playoff game, because it puts the Bengals in the divisional round with a Wild Card bye. That’s a huge payoff. Cornerback Adam Jones realizes the importance of Monday’s game.
“You get two weeks off if you win this game. I know those guys are looking at it the same way. It’s a big game we need to win… It is a play-off game. That’s how you have to look at it.”
The Bengals have been promising fans a well-played primetime game. It’ll have to be one of their best. With Andy Dalton being week-to-week and Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert still in protocol, the Bengals offense will have to step up. The jitters of Monday Night bright lights will have to take a backseat to playoff fever. Essentially, the postseason is starting two weeks early.
“It’s huge,” Andrew Whitworth admitted. “It’s probably one of our biggest games. I think it’s a heck of a challenge. A team that’s No. 1 in defense on the road with a back-up quarterback, that is going to be a heck of a challenge for us. That’s great. That’s awesome. It’s fun.”
Bengals defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry was ready for Denver, as soon as the San Francisco game ended.
“Those games kind of linger around, but this one here, it’s exciting,” Gilberry said. “This whole week. People were wondering why we weren’t smiling last week after we beat San Francisco. Because we knew this game here was way more important. Once that game was over with, we wish we could have played Thursday. Guys are eager.”
If the Bengals are eager, what more is needed? The game is huge.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]