One of the Cincinnati Bengals most fierce rivalries will be renewed on Sunday. As they head on the road to face their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bengals can really change the dynamic of their season with a win. Going into this game the Bengals are 2-3. A win on Sunday will make them .500 and give them some momentum. They could suddenly look more like the team many hoped they would be. Reversing course after losing their first three games of this season.
There are several players to keep an eye on going into and during Sunday’s game. First, there’s the quarterback battle between Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton. Both Dalton and Roethlisberger have thrown seven touchdowns this season. Yet, Roethlisberger has more interceptions than Dalton does. This could work to the Bengals benefit on Sunday.
One prominent Bengal that might not play on Sunday is Adam Jones. The Bengals cornerback missed practices on Thursday and Friday due to injury. Jones suffered a back injury in the Bengals October 8th win over the Buffalo Bills. He’s currently considered doubtful to play on Sunday. William Jackson III will likely start in place of Jones.
One interesting thing to examine will be the impact of the Bengals early bye week. The Bengals took last week (Week Six of the season) off. Meanwhile, the Steelers handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the season. Having last week off gives the Bengals more time to prepare for this game. Given it’s a key divisional matchup, one hopes the Bengals used that time wisely.
Bengals could still stand in decent shape to contend in the AFC North. Even after a lousy start to the season. At the moment the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the AFC North. With a 4-3 overall record and a 2-0 divisional record. While the Bengals sit a game under .500 overall; along with a 1-1 divisional record.
A win on Sunday could provide the biggest boost yet to the Bengals hopes of being contenders. In fact, winning Sunday’s game could restore the Bengals hopes of contending. Hopes that were largely diminished over the first three games of the season. The Bengals could also benefit with a win and a Baltimore Ravens loss. Currently 3-3 Baltimore will face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
If the Bengals win and the Ravens lose; the Bengals will suddenly be in second place in the AFC North. This could again be the a big momentum boost for the Bengals. Sure, it’s a bit early to pay much attention to divisional standings. Much of this potential momentum could also fade away if the Bengals lose on Sunday. However, this game could be important to the Bengals season later down the line.
The Bengals and Steelers kick off Sunday afternoon at 4:25 Eastern on CBS.