Bengals given extension to battle blackout

CINCINNATI -- For the second time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals needed to be granted an extension in order to avoid having a home blackout. Just like the last time, they are hoping the extension will help them generate enough ticket sales across the next 24 hours so that their game will air locally.

Approximately 3,500 tickets remain for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at Paul Brown Stadium against the Minnesota Vikings. With a win, the Bengals could both clinch a division title and earn a playoff berth. They also could jump back into the race for the No. 2 AFC playoff seeding. A win could also keep them exactly where they are now: looking for that division championship and desperate for a playoff bid with one week to go.

Along with a Bengals victory, the scenarios outlined above are all contingent upon results from the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens.

"We have tickets available on all levels of the stadium," Bengals ticket sales manager Andrew Brown said.

The Bengals, who also needed an extension for their Oct. 27 game against the Jets, have until 4 p.m. Friday to sell out the game or run the risk of being blacked out. Typically, teams have until 1 p.m. each Thursday to sell out a Sunday game.

"It's like I've said over my eight years here. It's always been interesting at times as far as that stuff goes," Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth said about the possible blackout while his team is in a playoff chase. "All we can do is continue to put a winner on the field and try to prove who we are and people will come and support us more and more and hopefully that continues to grow."

If Sunday's game is blacked out, it would be the second such game the Bengals will have played in this season. On Dec. 1, they were part of a game that was blacked out in Southern California after the Chargers weren't able to sell enough tickets to that day's game against the Bengals. Cincinnati won, 17-10.

While giving interviews Thursday, veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko looked into a news camera and made a plea for fans to attend Sunday's game.

"It's Christmas time right now so it would be good so we can get that game on TV," Peko said. "You don't want to be blacked out at home and then you're sitting around the TV watching nothing."

The extension comes on the same day the team announced that tickets would soon go on sale for possible home playoff games. The tickets will be sold as part of a two-game package and will be available for purchase at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The Bengals are 9-5. The Vikings are 4-9-1.