Ravens Playoff Opponent: Bengals Or Colts?

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Once the regular season concludes with Sunday's week 17 games, the playoff picture will be set and we will know who the Ravens are playing in the first round.

If the 2012 NFL regular season ended today, the Baltimore Ravens, AFC North champions, would be the fourth seed in the conference and host the #5 seed in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. Their opponent would be the Indianapolis Colts, who are having a surprisingly successful season behind rookie QB Andrew Luck, the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

However, week 17 can change things, from not only the Ravens position, but also who their first round opponent could end up being. The 10-5 Ravens are a game behind the 11-4 New England Patriots, who currently hold the #3 seed. If the Ravens win and Patriots lose, Baltimore will get the #3 seed by virtue of their week three 31-30 victory.

If that happens, the Ravens first round opponent would then be the Cincinnati Bengals,meaning that the two teams would end up meeting two weeks in a row. The Ravens play at Cincinnati this Sunday and then would return home to host the Bengals the following week. No matter what happens this weekend, Cincinnati will be the AFC #6 seed regardless of a win or loss.

Therefore, the question has to be out there, which is, which team would the Ravens prefer to play in the post season? Baltimore beat the Bengals 44-13 in the season opener here, and has won the last four meetings between the two teams, not losing since week two of the 2010 season.

Ironically, while the 9-6 Bengals are a disappointing 3-4 at home, they are a solid 6-2 on the road this year. Meanwhile, the 10-5 Colts are 6-1 at home, but only an average team (4-4) as visitors. That might be the main reason that a Baltimore vs. Indianpolis match-up might be in the best interest for the Ravens and the added historical significance of the rivalry would regurgitate the old Colts versus new Colts issue that just won't seen to go away.

So which rival would you prefer to see the Ravens host on Wild Card Weekend of January 5th or 6th?

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