Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag every Monday and Wednesday. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
Q: Adam, what a heartbreaking loss for the Cincinnati Bengals. Did that just end their playoff hopes for this year?
-- Ruth (Ohio)
A: End them? No, Ruth. Put a serious crimp in them? Absolutely. The road to the postseason just got a lot tougher for the Bengals. But at some point, the Bengals are going to have to earn their way there, if they can make it at all. And they haven't proven this season that they can beat playoff-caliber teams. Cincinnati has won the games it was supposed to. But when it has come time to try to get a difference-making win over a team such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Houston, the Bengals have failed. It is a sign of where they are. They are a good team with some improving and growing up to do. But make no mistake: The Bengals are on the right track. And don't forget, they have their first-round pick and the Raiders', too. So they will have the chance to improve even more this offseason.
Q: It looks like the Green Bay Packers have a good shot to go 16-0. Do you think they should go for it or follow the Indianapolis Colts' path and rest Aaron Rodgers once they have the No. 1 seed locked up?
-- Jerry (Calif.)
To read more on Adam's thoughts about whether the Packers should go for 16-0, plus whether the Pats can win a Super Bowl with that D, you must be an ESPN Insider.