Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/28/12
The Patriots are still holding out hope for a first-round bye as they head toward the postseason, but all likelihood points toward Tom Brady and company hosting a game on wild card weekend. Unless the Texans or Broncos fall flat on their faces this weekend — which is possible considering Houston’s visit to Indianapolis and Denver’s struggles with Kansas City earlier this season — then there will be football at Gillette Stadium next weekend. So, that means either the Cincinnati Bengals or Indianapolis Colts will be making the trip to New England. Both teams clinched their playoff berths with wins last Sunday and are on scorching-hot streaks right now. The Bengals have won six of their past seven, including a nail-biting victory over the division rival Steelers on Sunday in a game that had a playoff feel to it. Andy Dalton has played ball lately, scoring 15 total touchdowns (12 passing, three rushing) and throwing five interceptions over their past seven games. Meanwhile, the Cincy defense has really kicked it up a notch, allowing just 12 points per game over that seven-game stretch. As for the Colts, they’ve pulled out four of their past five games and eight of their past 10. Andrew Luck looks like Rookie of the Year royalty, Reggie Wayne has seen a youthful resurgence and the return of head coach Chuck Pagano from leukemia can only serve to further inspire this team. So, if the Patriots must play a game in New England next weekend, who would you rather see on the other sideline? Take Our Poll Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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