Cincinnati Bengals: Biggest Game in 2016

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Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals take on the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals take on the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Bengals will have 16 games standing between them and a sixth straight playoff appearance. But, which game is the biggest in 2016

In 2016, the Bengals will face the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns twice, but that doesn’t touch the biggest game of the season. In fact, the Bengals will face five different teams that made the playoffs in 2015, including four different division winners. They will face both AFC Championship playoff teams. Both could be playing for the top spots in the AFC once again.

The New England Patriots, however, are the only team that could stand in the way of the Bengals getting home field advantage and a first-round bye. The Bengals could handle all of their business within the division, as early as Week 2, by setting the tone against the Steelers.  But, it is Week 6 which could make or break the Bengals’ set up for a sixth straight playoff appearance.

The Bengals will head to Foxborough to take on the 2014-15 NFL Champions—not to mention the second seed in 2015-16 playoffs. A win against the New England Patriots could set them up for a tie breaker at the end of the season.

Tom Brady is suspended for the first four games of the NFL season, which could mean some rust against the Browns and certainly against the Bengals, who will be a tougher test. The Bengals have struggled in Foxborough in the past, including 2014’s 43-17 loss. It is the 2013 win at Paul Brown Stadium that gives the Bengals a glimmer of hope. 

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Andy Dalton has never been great in primetime but this game is a 1p.m. start. It is something the Bengals have found ways to win, even in impossible situations.  In Week 6, the Bengals will have Vontaze BurfictTyler Eifert should be incredibly healthy, by this point. Their new wide receivers—and the old ones—should be settled in. It means everything should be firing on all cylinders.

Every week will be important and every game will lead to a new record. However, it will be Week 6 that could mean the difference between a true playoff advantage and just another first round loss. A win against the Patriots could give them the edge they need in Week 17. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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