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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Morning Stripes: Bengals thinking playoffs

By Coley Harvey

OK, maybe the headline is a tad misleading. But trust me, it isn't as much of an attempt to grab eyeballs as you think.

Technically, it is true. The Bengals' front office and ticket office have been thinking about the playoffs in recent days, specifically the possibility that their team may end up hosting one or more playoff games. In the coming days, the postseason will certainly be on the minds of season-ticket holders, too. That's if it isn't already.

As you'll read in the first link below, the Bengals on Tuesday released a statement to media and their season-ticket holders, outlining specifics for the process of paying for postseason tickets, and being compensated or reimbursed for those that don't get used in case the Bengals only advance so far.

Why, with six weeks left on the regular-season schedule, are the Bengals already talking about the playoffs?

"Given where the team stands [in the division], the process needs to start now, and we want to accommodate our season-ticket holders first," executive vice president Katie Blackburn said. "Once we have met their needs, we will work to make tickets available to other fans."

In case you're wondering, this isn't some Bengals-specific move to get the ball rolling on the postseason so early. If they haven't already, other teams in the coming days will begin making the same pitches to their season-ticket holders if they believe there is a chance their teams could be hosting games in January. Cincinnati, with a lead of 2 1/2 games over the rest of the AFC North ahead of this week's bye, is in a comfortable enough position to begin believing a home playoff game is a possibility. If that happens, the Bengals stand a good chance of advancing multiple rounds. At Paul Brown Stadium this season, they are 5-0. Twice they have scored more than 40 points in games at home.

As we get into Thursday's Morning Stripes, we start with a little more on the postseason ticket preparations: