Can the Cincinnati Bengals Cure the Post-Holiday Blues?

Russell WightAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Marvin Lewis, Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, looks on during the game against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on January 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

I love the holidays. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is great. Family, football, television specials, and the kids' faces on Christmas morning are moments that always bring a smile to my face.

After the college bowl games and end of the NFL regular season, I am pretty bored until spring training. However, this year is different. After a solid regular season that resulted in an AFC North title, the Bengals are set to host the New York Jets on Saturday in the first round of the NFL playoffs.

I am excited and curious about this weekend. The excitement, of course, comes with the team making just its second playoff appearance in 19 years. The curiosity looms with the makeup and resiliency of this team.

It is no secret that this team has dealt with tragedy. If the sudden death of Mike Zimmer's wife, Vikki, wasn't hard enough, the organization was devastated when Chris Henry died last month.

On the field, the Bengals have won with a tough running game and attacking defense. The passing game has not been the aerial assault that led them to the playoffs in 2005, but Carson Palmer has been there to lead his team on several winning drives, earning them the nickname "Cardiac Cats."

After having clinched the division the week before, the Bengals were destroyed by the Jets on national television in the regular season finale. Β Whether or not a complete effort was given is irrelevant now. The same two teams meet on Saturday and Marvin Lewis has his work cut out for him.

A complete turnaround will be necessary if the Bengals want any chance of advancing past the first round. I hope this team knows they are better than the disaster that occurred on Sunday night. I hope they know their quarterback is capable of completing more than one pass. I hope they know that a sellout crowd will be behind them.

Bengals fans have been waiting for this. They have been waiting for something to do in January and February. Let's hope the Bengals keep us busy for a while.

Read more in The Wight Pages .


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.