At this time of year, questions always arise about whether teams already qualified for the playoffs with nothing to gain, should rest starters or not. An argument can be made for each side, players become rusty or why risk injury? This week, the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Baltimore Ravens with theoretically nothing to gain with a win. The Bengals are locked in the playoffs as a wildcard team and will have to play a division leader on the road in the first round of the playoffs, win or lose on Sunday. The Bengals have made the decision not to rest their starters.
Speaking to reporters, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said that he’s tried resting starters heading into the playoffs in the past. 2005 and 2009 to be exact. When asked about resting starters as the Bengals had in years past, Lewis responded, “How’d that turn out for us?”
The Bengals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 and to the New York Jets in 2009 after resting players leading up to those playoff games.
Across the field, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was not as direct about his plans for his players this week. Harbaugh told reporters that the Ravens would do everything they could in order to win the game at the same time, trying to stay as healthy as possible heading into the playoffs. The Ravens locked up the AFC North title last week with a win over the New York Giants.