Bengals not favored in both games against Pittsburgh Steelers

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Dec 18, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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If the Bengals are looking for respect against the Steelers, it won’t come from the guys in Vegas. A certain amount of esteem needs to be recaptured.

It’s sort of a ritual. When the oddsmakers out west deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, it gets interesting. But, you can always set your atomic clock by the outcome. Cincy is not favored to win either of the battles with their AFC North rival. Does that include the Monday Night Football affair? Yes, it’s like that. This is the year Cincinnati has to get the respect of Vegas back. More importantly, the Bengals have to recapture the respect of many fans again.

In the altered words of Kermit the Frog, it ain’t easy wearin’ the Orange and Black. Well, that may be a stretch on the quote. But, Bengals fans understand the rationale behind those words. The 2017 campaign hasn’t started and the respect factor is dead with Cincy. Heck, preseason games haven’t been played and oddsmakers have dropped two regular season L’s on the Bengals. What does a team from southern Ohio have to do for a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t (calling Mr. Dangerfield, stat)?

No Fear

The first thing that has to change is the intimidation factor. Yes, it’s still there. No matter what fans say in group chat rooms and on the streets, there is a definite lopsided factor to the series. In fact, let’s take a look at the hard numbers surrounding the history of the teams.

Overall, the Bengals are 35-60 against the Steelers, per the Football Database. Under the watchful eyes of Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have managed to win…eight games. To make that unbelievable number sink in deeper, that’s eight games in 14 years. Well, at least it’s a sign of consistency. But, that’s not going to strike fear into the hearts of the Steelers. Most coaches use the records of their opponents as motivation. Surely, Mike Tomlin doesn’t have to say much during a speech.

The Bengals need to flip the L’s in their favor. Lewis has to find a way to get them motivated to kick tail when they see Black and Yellow. 

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A Shift In Beliefs

The incoming rookies need to see a shift in attitude. No matter what the odds are, veterans have to pound the opposite into their psyche. It’s time to change things from the standard to a new set of values. The mindset has to be winning and dominating.

Lewis and Co. have to get the Bengals ready for battle with the Steelers like it’s a playoff game. There’s no fear of Cincinnati with Pittsburgh. They come into each game expecting to win. Whether it be timely help from the football gods or dumb luck, Steelers fans and players look for a W against the Bengals. There’s no room for the continuing lack of competitive competition. Until it changes, oddsmakers and football analysts will continue to have doubt in Cincinnati’s ability to post a win in the series.

Next: Set For The Comeback

It has to come from the top. The Bengals will have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league, this season. John Ross will be blazing down the sidelines with A.J. Green. If Jeremy Hill has any problems or Giovani Bernard has a setback, Joe Mixon is ready to make a move. But, even with the added weapons, there’s still doubt.

Making a shift starts this year. Even if the Bengals want to pound their collective chests, it has to start with a sweep of the Steelers.

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