This week's Bengals-Steelers match-up this weekend has all the makings for game of the week. This game will decide who will sit alone on top of the AFC North. Moreover, many analysts are saying this is the biggest game of the season for the Bengals.
Wait a minute. It seems to me that everyone has forgot the Bengals have already beaten Steelers albeit without defense leader in Troy Polamalu, but a young Bengals team got it done when it mattered most.
However, let us not get ahead of ourselves. It seems the media darlings have already given the division to the Bengals.
Had it not been for a fluke pass in the first game of the season, the Bengals would be sitting alone on top of the AFC North. Not to mention the Bengals have the head-to-head match up as of right now over the Steelers. The other loss the Steelers incurred was against the Bears, which the Bengals obliterated
So give the Bengals some credit here, it is not as if they have a cupcake season so far.
I really do not see the Steelers taking the division even if they beat the Bengals this weekend. The toughest part of the schedule is over the Bengals and only getting started for the Steelers.
The Steelers must still play Baltimore twice and you can believe after some midseason mishap and a disappointing finish in last year’s AFC Conference Match-up that there will be blood. In addition, nothing will be better than for the Ravens to spoil any chance the Steelers have of taking the division.
The Bengals are in control of their own destiny and right now at 6-2, they already beat last year’s season best and with opponents like the Raiders, Lions, Chiefs, and Browns you could predict the Bengals will have at least a 10-win plus season, with tossups versus, the Jets, Chargers, and Vikings.
Therefore, this game against the Steelers is not that big in the grand scheme of things for the Bengals. In case of playoffs, they already know they can beat them; after all, they did it before. The Bengals have shown uncanny depth at some key positions. The loss of Roy Williams is not that big to the defense. The loss of Henry is not that big either but gives younger guys on the team a chance to prove themselves.
This game against the Steelers is nothing more than a test in the grand scheme of things. If they lose, they do not have all the pressure to keep up the expectations. With an 'easy' second half season, they will be fine. If they win, they solidify their AFC North dominance. Given these outcomes I really don’t see how this is the biggest match up of the year for the Bengals.