Maybe no team benefited more from Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending injury than the Cincinnati Bengals, as the Bengals are the New England Patriots main competition for a playoff bye this season. The Denver Broncos seem locked in as the first seed, but the second seed is up for grabs. The Patriots hold the edge with a 10-3 record compared to the Bengals 9-4, but the Patriots have lost Gronk and also lost to the Bengals earlier this season.
St. Paul Pioneer-Press analyst and legendary Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton spoke about his Super Bowl favorites this season, and he stated that he believes the NFC is still a contest between the rival Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks should be safe, though, since they are going to be at home for that matchup (mild sarcasm).
What I found interesting was that Tarkenton believes the Bengals are a potential sleeper in the AFC, despite the fact that he doesn’t think there isn’t “much power” in the AFC aside from the Denver Broncos, who are obviously his favorite to win it all in the AFC. The Bengals are a great choice as a sleeper to win the Super Bowl, because they fit the profile of a team that could win it all if they get hot at the right moment. And by “they”, I am mainly talking about quarterback Andy Dalton, who is one of the most streaky QBs around. If Dalton can finally show up in the big games and get on a hot streak in the postseason, then this deep Bengals squad could really do some damage, especially if the Patriots can’t recover from Gronk’s injury.