We knew deep down the day the schedule came out back in April, but now it’s official. No matter what happens Monday night against Denver at Paul Brown Stadium (8:30-ESPN and Cincinnati’s Channel 5) the Bengals play for the AFC North tittle in Pittsburgh next Sunday.
After three losses by at least three touchdowns to teams in the middle of the AFC playoff chase, the North leading Bengals (9-4-1) play one of those referendum games Monday night (8:30-ESPN Cincinnati’s Channel 5) at Paul Brown Stadium against Peyton Manning’s 11-3 Broncos. A victory does even more than that and qualifies them for the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
The Bengals got some good news when they returned to the practice field Saturday morning at Paul Brown Stadium and SAM linebacker Emmanuel Lamur was in the stretching line with his helmet. Lamur, who left Sunday’s game in Cleveland with a hamstring injury, was limited and classified as doubtful, but it looks like he’s got a chance to play Monday (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5 and ESPN) against Denver.
Vincent Rey is a smart man. He’s got his degree from Duke University, he’s a scholar athlete from the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Bengals just tapped him as their Man of the Year nominee for this year‘s Walter Payton Award. So he knows it’s a bit backward to declare before Monday night’s game (8:30-Cincinnati’s Channel 5 and ESPN) against one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever lived that the key is shutting down the run. Madness, right? No one dead or alive has thrown more TD passes than Peyton Manning.