Bengals Get An Opportunity to Prove Their Merit


Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Marvin Lewis

during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Bengals beat the Browns 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

This week when the Bengals face the Denver Broncos for Monday night football they’ll get what could be their final shot of the season to prove their merit as a team who deserves to be in the playoffs.

Despite sitting atop the AFC North with a 9-4-1 record, which is commendable by most standards, the Bengals haven’t performed like a team deserving of a home playoff game.  Although they did manage to beat the Ravens twice, these two wins could be argued as their only two quality wins on the year.  Thus far, the Bengals’ wins and ties have come against teams with a 38.6% win percentage while the Bengals’ losses have come against teams with a 66.1% win percentage.

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More than this, when the Bengals have historically struggled when playing on the national stage.  One can only guess what the issue is, but most likely these games present a pressure that several players have difficultly overcoming.  In both nationally televised games this year, the Bengals were beaten convincingly.  They were defeated by a combined margin of 67-20 in the two games against the Patriots and Browns.  It’s these types of performances that lead many to feel uneasy about the Bengals and their potential within a playoff setting (if they qualify).

This coming Monday, the Bengals have an opportunity to address those concerns.  This game means so much not only to their fans, but the Bengals themselves.  Winning this game would boost this team’s confidence heading into the playoffs while helping solidify this team’s belief in itself.  Following the game against the Browns on Thursday night football, George Iloka had this to say.

"“I think when it’s a prime time game we want to win so bad, when one thing goes wrong then some guys fold up and some guys are like (shoot), like damn.  We put too much emphasis on it. When it’s not a prime time game and we get down we’re not nervous it’s like all right let’s fight our way back in it.”"

Winning this kind of game would begin to absolve many players who’ve undeniably “folded” during these games.  It would help instill confidence within this team, which would only help further motivate teammates who haven’t struggled as much.  Monday night means a lot not only to the Bengals’ playoff hopes, but also to how they would perform if they qualify.

With this thought in mind, Bengals fans might even consider rooting for the Steelers on Sunday, so the Bengals can then face another formidable opponent during what could be a prime time game.  And let’s be honest, what would be better than beating the Steelers, on their home turf, for the AFC North crown.

The Bengals have much to prove on Monday, both to their fans and themselves.