The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) will go toe-to-toe on Monday Night Football. This game is very important for both squads. The Steelers will look to re-claim the top spot in the AFC, while the Bengals look to creep closer to the sixth and final spot of the AFC playoff hunt. Despite the importance for both teams, it is also important for the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore is currently sitting at 7-5 and they hold the final spot in the AFC playoffs. The Buffalo Bills are right behind the Ravens, sitting at 6-6. It is worth noting that Buffalo’s starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor is battling a knee injury. The other two teams that are neck and neck with the Bills are the Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) and the Oakland Raiders (6-6). Then, there are the Bengals.
The Bengals started the season with an 0-3 record and looked out of sorts. However, Cincinnati has climbed back into the hunt. They’ve been able to grind out some wins and they are a legitimate threat to Baltimore’s playoff hopes. Which is why Pittsburgh has to win Monday’s matchup.
To be realistic, Baltimore has little to no shot of winning the division, unless the Steelers have an epic collapse and the Ravens win out. This will be the second time these teams have faced each other this season. In week six, the Steelers beat the Bengals with ease 29-14 at Heinz Field.
Baltimore fans shouldn’t hold their breathe for a Steelers defeat, but a Bengals defeat should be just as sweet. Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh carry a 10-5 playoff record and the majority of those games were played on the road. They have never lost in the first round of the playoffs. For the Ravens, the second wild card spot seems more realistic and still gives them a good chance to make a run.