Hardest Games on the Bengals’ Schedule

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws a pass during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) throws a pass during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 16, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) has a pass broken up by Houston Texans strong safety Kevin Johnson (30) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) has a pass broken up by Houston Texans strong safety Kevin Johnson (30) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Week 16: Bengals @ Texans

Quick! Name the team that’s knocked the Bengals out of the playoffs the most times in the Dalton era. If you said the Houston Texans, you’re right. Sure, there’s a little uncertainty surrounding their quality of quarterback this year. But Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates didn’t stop the Texans from beating Cincinnati twice in the playoffs or snapping our 8 game winning streak to start last season.

Last year, DeAndre Hopkins became the first player in NFL history to catch a touchdown pass from four different quarterbacks in one season. Say what you want about Brock Osweiler, but he’s better than all four guys Hopkins caught passes from last year. With playmakers like Lamar Miller, Whitney Mercilus, and J.J. Watt also rostered, the Texans have a legitimate shot to be a Bengal killer late in the season once again.

1. Week 17: Bengals vs. Ravens

While Baltimore hasn’t provided too much resistance for the Bengals in recent years, the Ravens always play well in the spotlight, and this game is slated to be of massive importance. The game is scheduled to be played at 1 PM Eastern time, but due to its possible playoff implications, flexing times to give the Bengals their third straight primetime game to end the season is a very real possibility.

With Steve Smith, Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Breshad Perriman all likely healthy in time for this game, the Ravens offense will be at full force. That may not sound like a star-studded cast of talent, but combine that group with their defensive unit and you get one of the scrappiest teams in the league. For all their faults, the Ravens aren’t a losing team. Even with a starting trio of Matt Schaub, Javorius Allen, and Kamar Aiken, the Ravens were able to nearly knock Pittsburgh out of the playoffs in a game that only meant pride for Baltimore.

Regardless of skill level, The Purple and Black always play their divisional opponents tough, and this will be among the hardest games to end the season the Bengals have played in a while. Physical defense will be the key to this matchup. The Ravens will win or die trying.

Next: Still Blaming Dalton?

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