Two Steeler takes on Bengals; 3-4 potentials

Posted: 3:45 p.m.

Even though the Bengals are saying they're going to play Sunday's game against the Jets to win, the Steelers aren't buying it. Specifically linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Straight from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he's got Woodley saying Wednesday that the Bengals and Patriots will "lay down" on Sunday to help keep his team out of the playoffs.

"Cincinnati is probably going to go into New York and lay down for the Jets and not play them hard just because they don't want to see Pittsburgh in there," Woodley told Bouchette, "because they know if we get into the playoffs we're a dangerous team."

The Steelers need at least the Bengals to beat the Jets or the Patriots to beat the Texans in order to have a chance to make the playoffs, and they probably need both those games to go their way, the newspaper said.

"All of them will lay down," said Woodley. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in there. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs no matter how we played throughout the whole year."

But an old Bengals nemesis, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, says Cincinnati has earned the right to play it how they want to play it.

"Houston, Denver and the Steelers have put themselves in a position where they need help," Cowher said in a CBS press release. "Unfortunately, the teams that they need help from don't have the same amount at stake as they do. Consequently, their fate is in a team that really doesn't have to win the game. I'm talking about the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. They control the fate of a lot of people.

"As I used to always tell my teams, they earned that right. Just like the Indianapolis Colts earned the right to do whatever they needed to do to get themselves prepared for the playoffs. As a football team that needs help, when it's all said and done, if you don't get in, you reflect back on some of the games that you let get away; a missed opportunity here and there where you could have controlled your own fate." 

Meanwhile, here is what the Elias Sports Bureau says has to happen for the Bengals to get the third seed and New England the fourth if they finish with the same record:

If both the Bengals and Pats lose, the Bengals need to finish as the third seed: Cleveland beats Jacksonville, Pittsburgh beats Miami, and Indianapolis beats Buffalo. Plus, one of these must happen: Baltimore beats Oakland, or Green Bay beats Arizona, or Kansas City beats Denver, or New Orleans beats Carolina, or Seattle beats Tennessee.

If they both win then the Bengals need the following to finish third: Cleveland beats Jacksonville and Pittsburgh beats Miami. Then it gets tough.

If those two happen and Indianapolis beats Buffalo, any three of the following must happen: Baltimore beats Oakland, Green Bay beats Arizona, Kansas City beats Denver, New Orleans beats Carolina, Seattle beats Tennessee.

But if Buffalo beats Indy, all of the following must happen for the Bengals to be No. 3: Baltimore beats Oakland, Green Bay beats Arizona, Kansas City beats Denver, New Orleans beats Carolina, Seattle beats Tennessee.

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