The Cincinnati Bengals can finish no lower than the third seed heading into the AFC playoffs, but they don't plan on taking it easy in the regular season finale against Baltimore.
Head coach Marvin Lewis said his team will be all systems go on Sunday, even with a handful of players whose nagging injuries would benefit from an extra week off. If everything plays out as hoped this Sunday, the extra week of rest will come in the postseason in the form of a first-round bye.
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"We can't take any steps back. We can't lose any more football games. That's just the way it is."
As a result of Sunday's loss in Denver, the Bengals now need the Broncos to fall at home to San Diego (4-11) to have any chance of a bye. If Cincinnati loses as well, it would still back in as the No. 2 seed if Kansas City (10-5) beats Oakland (7-8).
After all of the upsets last week, anything can happen, but left tackle Andrew Whitworth wants a 12th win regardless.
"Our mindset and our attitude is to go into this game and win it and be 12-4, have the best record we've had here in quite some time. From a player perspective that's the attitude we have unless we are told differently -- I don't think we will be. That's definitely the mentality we always are going to carry.
"The biggest thing about this group is every year we improved. This will be a chance this year to take it one more step and get to that mark. It's something that shows the kind of football team we are. Finishing and being hot this year is most important and that's what we need."
Despite their 5-10 record, the Ravens will be looking to spoil things as they did last week for Pittsburgh. After seeing what backup quarterback Ryan Mallett did to the Steelers, defensive end Carlos Dunlap knows his unit can't afford to take Baltimore lightly.
"We're going to go out with the mindset that the Baltimore Ravens aren't looking at our record and we're not looking at their record," he said via Bengals.com. "We know that it's going to be tough, hard-nosed AFC North football. That's exactly what you're going to get."
And after the game, the entire locker room will be cheering for the Chargers and Chiefs.