The Cincinnati Bengals clinched back-to-back playoff berths for the first time since 1981-82. But, in his Insider post, ESPN's Matt Williamson doesn't believe the Bengals' celebration will last very long.
Locked in as the sixth seed, Cincinnati will likely face New England (Denver, Houston and Baltimore are also possibilities for the No. 3 seed). If the Bengals have to play Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England, Williamson predicts Cincinnati to be one-and-done in the postseason:
The Bengals still have a great defense. But I don't think that alone, mixed with great play from A.J. Green, is enough to be serious contenders in the AFC -- especially if Cincinnati has to go on the road to New England. It's been a nice season for the Bengals, but it's likely to end in the first round of the playoffs.
Based on watching the Bengals this season, their defense won't be intimidated by Brady. Cincinnati has beaten two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks this year in Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. The key will be not flinching under the playoff pressure (like the Bengals did in Houston last season) and putting consistent pressure on Brady.