AFC North champions led by Dalton secure another home win.
The Baltimore Ravens saw their season come to a close on Sunday after falling to a 34-17 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals, ending their defence as Super Bowl champions.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and set a pair of franchise passing records en route to the win, which moved the hosts to 11-5 for the season and 8-0 at home.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Dalton.
“The last couple of years we played on the road. For us to have a home game here, it’ll be a great environment.”
Dalton was 21 of 36 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions, and insisted that his team are now ready for the playoffs to start.
In contrast, the Ravens ended the season 8-8 having lost their last two games, and as a result they were denied the opportunity of making the playoffs and fell to the usual Super Bowl slump.
Baltimore became the 15th Super Bowl champions that have failed to reach the playoffs the following season, and the sixth in the last 12 years, with coach John Harbaugh visibly disappointed with how the season ended for his team.
Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for a career-high 3.912 yards this season after signing a big-money deal in the summer, but it will be of little consolation after failing to make it beyond the regular season after the high of last year.
Cincinnati will now be aiming to win a playoff game for the first time since the 1990 season, but with home advantage they will be looking to build on their last five home games where they’ve now scored 49, 41, 42, 42 and 34 points respectively.