December 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) calls plays at the line during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals and Cowboys Must Win or Go Home

The season for both the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys hinges on this Sunday’s game in Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals are 7-5 and the Cowboys are 6-6. Both are sitting just on the outskirts of a playoff berth. The teams’ have each had their own win streaks leading them into this weekend’s matchup. The scene is set for a showdown in the Jungle.

Dallas is currently sitting behind one team to get to the NFC wild card round. In the NFC, the Falcons have already wrapped up a playoff spot. The 49ers, Bears, Packers, and Seahawks have all but wrapped up their berths, leaving the tight NFC East fighting for the last playoff opportunity. The Giants are currently leading the division, but the Redskins and Cowboys are just one game back at 6-6. Anything can happen in the next four weeks of NFL action, but every team in the NFC East knows that their destiny is in their own hands. They must win if they want to keep their hopes alive.

To make matters even more urgent for Dallas; not only are they listed behind the Redskins and the Giants for the last wild card berth, they also have a surging Tampa Bay team on their heels with the same record. If any of these teams should lose this week, the winners will be sitting in great position headed into week 15.

Even if Dallas were to win in Cincinnati, the remaining games on their schedule are against tough opponents, who are not going to give them any kind of break. After this Sunday’s road trip, the Cowboys welcome two home matchups against the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the New Orleans Saints. To finish out the season, they hit the road against their division and playoff rivals, the Washington Redskins.

The road to the playoffs is not as trying for the Bengals. However, this game is also a must win for the boys from Cincinnati. The Bengals are currently tied for the last wild card berth, with the Steelers owning the tie breaker. This scenario puts the Bengals on the edge of owning the spot outright.

When Ben Roethlisberger went down a few weeks ago, many thought the Bengals would be able to own the spot by his return. Charlie Batch was having none of that, though, and kept the Steelers on pace with Cincinnati.

Now, Cincinnati is in the driver’s seat, heading in to the final games of the season. The Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots have already wrapped up their respective divisions in the AFC. The Ravens should wrap up the North in the next couple of weeks, leaving the Colts with the first wild card playoff spot. The Steelers and the Bengals are both 7-5 and fighting for the second one.

Cincinnati’s upcoming schedule is a tough one, as well. After welcoming the Cowboys in to their home turf, the Bengals hit the road for a short week matchup against the Eagles on the Thursday Night Football. They then stay on the road to take on division and playoff rival Pittsburgh, before coming home to take on the Ravens.

Neither team has any room for error on Sunday. They will both be coming in to the game hungry and ready for a fight. It is truly win or go home.

Tags: Bengals Cincinnati Cincinnati Bengals Cowboys Dallas Dallas Cowboys NFL Paul Brown Stadium

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