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Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts head into playoffs on a winning note

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

The Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts each had division titles wrapped up going into Week 17, but still had a chance to get a first-round bye with a win on Sunday.

No matter where they end up in the AFC's pecking order, both teams should feel pretty good going into their first playoff game.

The Colts, who were slumping for weeks after Reggie Wayne's injury, have had a bit of a revival. They followed up last week's impressive win at Kansas City with a dominant 30-10 victory over Jacksonville at home. The Colts jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, a good sign for a team that hadn't started many games well during their midseason struggles.

The Bengals had a mistake-filled game, with four interceptions by Andy Dalton, and still beat the Ravens 34-17 to knock their division rivals and defending Super Bowl champions out of the playoffs. Cincinnati probably can't survive so many mistakes by Dalton and win in the playoffs, but the fact that they won fairly easily against the defending champions even with those errors is a pretty good sign.

The Bengals stayed alive for a first-round bye by beating the Ravens. They needed a loss by the Patriots in the late games to get the No. 2 seed. The Colts will be playing next week. They'll get the Chiefs at home next Saturday or Sunday at home if the Patriots win. A Patriots win would clinch the fourth seed for the Colts, and the Chiefs are locked into the fifth seed.

No matter who those teams end up facing in their playoff opener, the Colts and Bengals should feel a bit more confident after cruising in Week 17.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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