And it all comes down to this.
Well, maybe not quite "all," but a lot sure rests on this Sunday's game.
The AFC North title rests on this game. Remaining atop the AFC for home field advantage rests on this game. And fighting off the stigma that while they have started better than any Bengals team before them, they are still the Bungals when it comes right down to it . . . rests on this game.
And, of course, who does this game have to be against? None other than the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers.
Who also happen to be one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Of course four weeks ago, the Bengals beat these Steelers in Pittsburgh 16-10. Since then the Steelers have edged the Raiders, crushed the Browns, lost a thriller to Seattle, and crushed the Colts last week. The Steelers offense is hitting on all cylinders. And the Bengals secondary will be tested like no other game before. And that's not a good thing since their best corner, Adam Jones, will most likely miss the game.
This is going to be a huge test for Cincinnati. At least it is at Paul Brown Stadium. However, that is little solace as Big Ben has schooled Cincy there time and again. Hopefully, the Bengals can exact a little bit of revenge from last year's final game when they came in leading the AFC North and needing a victory to win the division. But it wasn't to be as the Steelers forced an AJ Green fumble late in the game to seal the win.
Hopefully, Cincy's defensive line can get to Ben and keep him pressured enough so he can't stand back and chuck it deep to his amazing wide receivers all day long.
The one thing that we have going for us is that the Bengals' safety, Reggie Nelson, has been a Steelers killer the past few games. Hopefully he can come up big with a key turnover.
Offensively, the Bengals have been able to move the ball against just about everyone this year. Let's hope that trend continues against a very average defense. Luckily, Jeremy Hill has been coming on as of late. Hopefully, they can feed him the ball 25-35 times to keep Big Ben and the Steelers' offense off the field.
If the Bengals can manage to pull this one out, it will be their biggest win under Marvin Lewis.
If they choke it away, they will have to win out and hope for some luck to get a bye in the playoffs.