Originally written on WhoDeyFans  |  Last updated 12/19/12
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

Adam Eaton gets 4th of July surprise from brother

Clippers in talks with JaVale McGee, Amar’e Stoudemire

Report: LeBron won't negotiate with Cavs until Thompson is signed

Andrei Kostitsyn interested in return to NHL

Blazers fire assistant who said Aldridge was leaving team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Miguel Cabrera lands on DL for first time in his career

LaMarcus Aldridge chooses to sign with Spurs

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Kosta Koufos agrees to deal with Kings

Report: Blues in trade talks about Kevin Shattenirk

Report: Gregg Popovich plans to fulfill five-year contract

4-Star LB commits to Kentucky, zings Louisville

Clay Buchholz not worried about trade rumors

All hope isn't completely lost for this year's Milwaukee Brewers

Roy Hibbert likely being traded to Lakers

WATCH: Pablo Sandoval falls over railing during catch

Report: Packers TE charged with firing a gun in Miami

Kawhi, LaMarcus, the mid-range and the Spurs' next epoch

How can Rafael Nadal regain his dominance?

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Spurs vying for David West

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

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

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.