by Kent Sterling
This is an intriguing game because it will go a long way toward settling which soon-to-be division champ will be the #3 seed because the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals were built with radically different strategies.
It will also be a validation for one of two teams built in very different ways.
The Colts like to talk about a code of behavior and citizenship represented by the Horseshoe, and the Bengals target players who have a screw loose, wind up on every other team’s do not draft list, and get great value as a result.
The Bengals are the Bungles, and the Colts rebuild Kokomo after tornados destroy part of the town. The Colts bring in a middle linebacker from the CFL with impeccable character in Jerrell Freeman, and the Bengals sign the talented but very flaky Vontaze Burfict. Both play at a high level, but come have radically different psychological profiles.
Both teams have arrived at the same place by taking different paths. The Colts and Bengals are currently tied with 8-4 records, and the winner of this game will have a stranglehold on the #3 seed in the AFC, and a chance to move up to #2 if the New England Patriots falter.
The Bengals do some very interesting things on both sides of the ball to maximize the positives their talent can bring to the game. The Colts have won three of their last five while being outscored by 45 points is anyone’s guess.