How will the Ravens approach Sunday's game?
The Bengals, more so than the Ravens, have nothing to play for in regard to the playoffs in their season finale on Sunday.
While the Ravens possibly could move up in AFC seeding from fourth to third, the Bengals are locked into the No. 6 slot regardless of anything that happens in Week 17. So does that mean Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis intends to sit his starters?
The answer seems to be no. The last two times the Bengals were in this situation, they concentrated on resting everyone and ended up getting blown out — 37-3 by the Chiefs in 2005 and 37-0 by the Jets in 2009.
“I don't really have any beat-up guys. So, the only thing that is at stake is you go out and play to win the game every time,” Lewis said, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It's a different team, different group, different people. Playing different teams, different situations, different circumstances.”
Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko votes for playing it out.
“As far as me, I just want to keep playing,” he said. “I don't want to not play and get rusty or whatnot. We should just keep playing, is what I think, and go out there and keep getting better. Each game is a chance to get better, especially against Baltimore. They're a hell of a team and they're in the playoffs also, so this will be a good test for us to go out there and get the job done.”
Peko must have gotten the message from his head coach, because when asked what the Bengals had to play for, Lewis replied: “Improvement. Each and every time we go out. We're finishing off the month of December, and we need to have a better January than we did December. If we do that, February will be very nice.”