Cincinnati Bengals: 4 must-win games on 2021 schedule

Leigh Oleszczak
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 4: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after the defense makes a stop during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium on October 4, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Jacksonville 33-25. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 4: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after the defense makes a stop during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium on October 4, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Jacksonville 33-25. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Darius Phillips #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Mackensie Alexander #21 of the Cincinnati Bengals gang up to tackle Chase Claypool #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Darius Phillips #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Mackensie Alexander #21 of the Cincinnati Bengals gang up to tackle Chase Claypool #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Must-Win Games for Cincinnati Bengals in 2021 – No. 3: Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s going to be hard to win a divisional game simply because of how stacked the AFC North is but the Bengals have to get at least one win against their divisional foes. Since they were able to knock off the Steelers last season, that’s the team I went with here.

Not only that, but the Steelers are trending downwards while the Bengals are slowly trending upwards. Pittsburgh is nearing the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era and will find themselves trying to find his successor at quarterback, likely following this season.

Last year the Steelers got off to a roaring 11-0 start only to falter down the stretch. One of their losses in the final stretch of the season came against the Bengals, who didn’t have Joe Burrow as their quarterback at that point.

Someone has to be in the bottom of the AFC North and while many have been quick to assume it’ll be the Bengals, don’t be so surprised if Pittsburgh finds themselves in the basement of the division instead. The Bengals have to win at least one game against the Steelers in 2021 and ideally, they’d win two games in the division as a whole.

I’m not sure a 2-4 AFC North record is realistic for this group but one win against Pittsburgh, whether it’s the away game on Sept. 26 or the home game on Nov. 28, has to happen for Cincinnati.

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