Final Word: AFC North

January, 1, 2010
1/01/10
4:00
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:

[+] EnlargeChad Ochocinco
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesChad Ochocinco took some playful shots at Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis this week.
Sit or rest? The Cincinnati Bengals (10-5) will be in a unique position Sunday night against the New York Jets (8-7). With the AFC North title and at least a No. 4 playoff seed ensured, Cincinnati can rest its starters, which could impact several wild-card hopefuls. The Jets need a win to secure a playoff berth, while the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), Houston Texans (8-7) and Miami Dolphins (7-8) are all chasing New York. The Bengals’ game was flexed to 8:20 p.m. ET and that should factor into their decision. If the New England Patriots (10-5) win their 1 p.m. game against Houston, Cincinnati likely will rest its starters if the No. 3 seed is out of the question. Even if the Bengals play their starters, there is no guarantee Cincinnati prevails. The Bengals are 3-9 in their past 12 Sunday night games.

Ocho vs. Revis: Depending on the circumstances, fans could be treated to a great matchup between Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco and New York Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis. Both players are having tremendous seasons. Ochocinco doesn't believe Revis -- or any cornerback -- can cover him and wasn’t hesitant to express those feelings to the media. Revis is arguably the best cover corner in the NFL.

Flagged: If the Baltimore Ravens (8-7) beat the Oakland Raiders (5-10), they're in the playoffs. But Baltimore must be mindful of penalties. The Ravens are the second-most penalized team in the NFL with 128. Oakland leads the league with 132 penalties. Many of Baltimore's infractions have come at inopportune times, including two last week that negated touchdowns in a 23-20 loss to the Steelers. The Raiders have proved to be a tough opponent at home. So the Ravens could do themselves a huge favor by not letting penalties keep Oakland in this game.

Troy on the mend: Steelers safety Troy Polamalu's knee is improving, but don't expect him in the lineup against Miami. Polamalu just began running in a straight line this week, but he is still a work in progress in terms of cutting on the knee and changing direction. But if the Steelers get lucky and several things fall their way Sunday to get into the playoffs, Polamalu's availability next week would be a more realistic possibility.

Browns go for four: Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini looks to finish strong against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Browns (4-11) are having a poor season overall but have won three straight. The streak comes at a great time as new team president Mike Holmgren will begin taking over the operations next week and decide which coaches and players he wants to keep. The prevalent feeling is that Holmgren will make a coaching change. But Holmgren's decision would be more difficult if Mangini ends the season on a four-game winning streak.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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