Originally written on WhoDeyFans  |  Last updated 11/20/14
In case you are living under a rock, let me state the obvious: Sunday’s game is huge.  Not your typical “big game” huge.  Assuming there’s no apocalypse on Friday, Sunday’s tilt in Pittsburgh becomes the equivalent of a large meteor hurling towards the earth.    That meteor’s name is Ben Roethlisberger, and the Bengals are Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and crew.   If the Bengals defeat the Steelers at Heinz Field, they  not only punch their own ticket for the playoffs, but they also officially eliminate the Steelers from postseason contention-in front of their vocal, towel-waving fans. What a beautiful sight that would be!   If the Steelers win, the Bengals make the playoffs if the Steelers lose in week 17 to the Browns at home and the Bengals beat the Ravens in Cincinnati.  There are still scenarios for the Dolphins, but the Bengals have to lose both remaining games for that, and lets face it-if the Bengals can’t win either of these games they don’t deserve the berth in the first place.   Now, if the Bengals beat the Steelers, and the Giants beat the Ravens in a battle of reeling teams, then the week 17 match-up in Cincinnati is for the AFC North crown.   Looking at the current scenarios, if the Bengals were to lose that game (or otherwise earn the sixth seed) they will play at New England; a tough match. If the Bengals win the North, they will get the 4th seed, and host a home playoff game against the Colts: a much better draw.   But first things first: The Bengals must beat Pittsburgh.    This will be tough, and virtually every talking head is picking Pittsburgh based on the fact that they are at home, they’ve dominated the series as of late, and well, they’re the Steelers. This premise presumes that the Steelers will simply “out tough” the Bengals, or perform better in the clutch, or get the calls from the zebras (or some combination thereof). Based on history, I cannot discount this.   However, here are a few reasons for optimism:   The Bengals have won 5 of their last 6 games. The Steelers, meanwhile, have lost 4 of their last five.   Pittsburgh most recent home game was a 34-24 loss to the Chargers, whom the Bengals defeated in San Diego the previous week.   Turnovers decide games. The Steelers have a minus-14 turnover differential right now. The Bengals are plus-3.   Pittsburgh’s top corner back, Ike Taylor, has been ruled out, forcing back-up DB Cortez Allen to draw coverage against Bengals pro bowler A.J. Green. Allen himself is still recovering from a hip flexor injury that forced him out earlier this year.   The Bengals are 4-point underdogs. Every fan knows the Bengals play better as dogs.   The Bengals are 5-2 on the road this season.   And perhaps the least scientific reason: After 5 consecutive losses to Pittsburgh, the Bengals are simply due.  How many losses in a row can we sustain before we simply play better, and get more breaks than the other guy?    Think positively Who Dey Nation! 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns

Shane Vereen squashes rumor he wants $5 million per season

Jon Gruden on Meyer: 'Greatest coaching job of all time'

Vince Young to work out at NFL Veteran Combine

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Mike Wallace unwilling to restructure contract

Report: Colts targeting Brandon Marshall

Rakeem Christmas leads Syracuse in exercise of futility

Report: Phil Jackson to be fined for comments on college player

Rondo 'extremely unlikely' to re-sign with Mavericks

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

WATCH: Charles Barkley rips analytics again

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to step up

Jon Stewart and Seth Rollins feud comes to a head(lock)

MLS must get labor deal done before embarking on new TV era

NASCAR driver's car stolen from hotel parking lot

WATCH: Herm Edwards breaks down infamous llama video

Rex Ryan has truck with Buffalo Bills paint scheme

WATCH: Sidney Crosby catches teammate's stick in mid-air

WATCH: Vanderbilt coach tells own player 'I'll f-ing kill you'

Are the Kings willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins?

Johan Santana signed by Blue Jays to minor league deal

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Judge rules against AP's suspension

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.