After the Bengals took care of business in Philadelphia with a 34-13 dismantling of the already broken Eagles, they now have control of their playoff destiny. Cincinnati will be 8-5 heading into a crucial week 16 match up against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers.
This week 7-6 Pittsburgh will travel down to 7-6 Dallas in a game that has serious playoff implications for both teams. The Steelers currently trail Cincinnati for the 6th and final wild card spot. With a loss this week against Dallas, Cincinnati will own a one game lead for that final playoff spot. Even with a Pittsburgh win, Cincinnati can clinch a wild card spot, and knock Pittsburgh from playoff contention with a win in week 16 when they travel to Pittsburgh to battle the Steelers at Heinz field.
Another game Bengals fans will be paying close attention to is the 10-3 Denver Broncos at the 9-4 Baltimore Ravens game. With a Baltimore loss, Cincinnati will only be one game back of the Ravens for the AFC North title with two games left. Denver is currently on an 8 game winning streak heading into this Sundays game. Baltimore is coming off a loss at the hands of the Washington Redskins in overtime.
While Cincinnati controls their own destiny for the final wild card spot, the AFC North title won’t be completely out of their reach if they can count on a few teams to take care of the Ravens and Steelers in coming weeks.
Cincinnati will finish off their season in what could be the most important game of their season in week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens at PBS. If Baltimore loses this week against Denver and next week against the Giants, this won’t be out of the question.
However, Cincinnati is 0-6 against Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the past 2 seasons. Can they step up and handle the pressure of two tough division match ups two weeks in a row for a playoff spot and a possible division title? If the Cincinnati defense plays as hard as they are capable of, and the offense starts clicking on all cylinders, nothing is out of the question.