Just lose, baby, lose. If I was the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals or the New England Patriots, that would be my mantra this week.
It's not something I would announce to my players or to the team's fans. I would never want anyone to think I was tanking it, but I'd be doing everything I can this week to tank it without making it obvious that I was tanking it.
Why? Because I'd want that number four seed in the AFC. If you can't be one or two, then number four is the place to be, in my opinion. Here's why.
Let's start with the bye week you're team isn't getting by not being number one or two. All right, let's make this week that bye week.
Now let's move on to the match-ups. Every coach in the league will tell you the NFL is all about match-ups and, in my opinion, that's what makes the number four seed in the AFC such a premium position.
The number four team is going to host Jacksonville in the wild-card round of the playoffs; number three would host either Pittsburgh or Kansas City. With all due respect to the Jaguars, I don't want any part of either Pittsburgh or Kansas City. They're both playoff-experienced, Pittsburgh would go into the playoffs as a hot team and Kansas City has a big-time running back who scares the heck out of me.
If I get the Jaguars, I get a team with a situation at quarterback. I would get a team whose quarterback will likely be a guy coming off a broken ankle and making his first playoff appearance.
I understand that in playing the Jaguars I would be facing the number six defense in the league that has two guys in the middle who can take my running game away, but I'll take my chances against Jacksonville because what I really want to do is play Indianapolis as soon as I can.
What? That's right, I want the Colts now. I wanna play them in the divisional round of the playoffs and not in the conference title game. I wanna play them when they're coming off a bye week and losses in two of their final three games. I wanna play them when they're on a downer, not a week later in the conference title game when they might have regained momentum.
Popular opinion is that avoiding the Colts as long as possible is the way to go but, frankly, I think having to play in Denver in the divisional round may be a tougher assignment than facing the Colts in week two.
I'm going to be interested to see what Marvin Lewis and Bill Belichick do this weekend in the way of resting players. These are bright guys. They have to know that number four is the way to go.