The Cincinnati Bengals finished their regular season on a high note with a win against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, they must turn their focus to division rival and Wildcard opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Power Rankings should favor a big win by Cincinnati, at least we would think so, but do they?
"Confidence-building win for the A.J. McCarron-led Bengals, which likely will be the version we see hosting the Steelers in this week’s wild-card game. Of course, McCarron’s first non-mop-up action this season came against that very opponent, with mixed results. And it was that very match up in the 2005 wild-card round that saw the career arc of then- Bengals QB Carson Palmer change forever, courtesy of a torn ACL, while Pittsburgh went on to win its first Super Bowl since the 1970s. We should know more regarding Andy Dalton‘s availability later this week, but it’s looking more and more like it’ll be A.J. to A.J. again. As my colleague Eric Davis said on NFL Network, “This is the chance for the Cincinnati Bengals to not be little brother.” Yep."
"The Bengals won 12 games for the first time since 1988, when they lost the Super Bowl. Will this be the year Marvin Lewis (0-6) gets his first playoff win?"
"Let’s say Andy Dalton plays Saturday night. It’s still just 27 days between fracturing one’s throwing thumb and dueling Ben Roethlisberger in a playoff game. That’s not optimal."
"It looks like they will be without Andy Dalton against the Steelers. Can they win without him?"
The ratings still has them within striking distance and although I still think Elliot Harrison needs a little bit of help from his colleagues after a bad showing the past two weeks ranking the Steelers ahead of the Bengals. Either way, we will find out on Saturday night if the Bengals can end the six game losing streak in the playoffs.