A week from Saturday, the Colts will host the Ravens, Jets or Bengals in an AFC divisional round playoff game. (They get the lowest remaining seed, so the Patriots are not a possibility.)
Indy will be a heavy favorite in any of those three games.
But while we await the wild-card games, I thought we’d look at how those three matchups look.
You can vote here on who you think the best matchup is in a poll we will track.
I spoke with an AFC personnel man, who shared his thoughts in exchange for going nameless, and e-mailed with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.
We’ll start with the Bengals, and of course we get opposite viewpoints.
Williamson says Cincinnati is the team the Colts would least like to face, though he doesn’t think the Bengals would beat Indy.
“I think Cincy is the least desirable because of their two CBs,” he said referring to Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph. “They have a power running game and could potentially pound the Colts' D, keeping Peyton Manning off the field and shortening the game.”
The personnel man said the Bengals are the team the Colts would most like to face. He didn’t point to the cornerbacks, but did share the same idea as Williamson about the potential for Cedric Benson to be productive.
Still, in the middle of a season-ending debate about the value of momentum, he said he thinks the Bengals are playing the worst of any AFC playoff team and would be a welcomed team for anyone else to face.
“If you’re looking at the teams and the way they’ve played, they would be the team that is playing the worst of any of the teams, and that has nothing to do with how they played on Sunday against the Jets,” he said.
“The thing about the Bengals is their history. I have to see them hitting on all cylinders to be convinced. We played them. We weren’t all that impressed. They’ve got some players; they’ve got some weapons. But I’ve just got to see it.”
Here are the key numbers for the Bengals this season in the categories we watch weekly for the AFC South:
Total offense – 24th
Rushing offense – ninth
Passing offense – 26th
Third down offense – 13th
Points per game – 22nd
Total defense – fourth
Rush defense – seventh
Pass defense – sixth
Third down – 16th
Points per game – sixth