With their incessant whining, echoing LaMarr Woodley, I've been viewing Steelers fans less favorably than Al-Qaeda these days. If the Bengals sit their starters, they'll be doing something that Pittsburgh has done in the past. Let's look back to the end of the 2004-2005 season.
By Week 17, the Steelers had clinched home field advantage in the ACF playoffs. Denver and the New York Jets faced win-and-you're-in scenarios. The Bills needed to win or tie the Steelers and have one of those two teams falter. The Jets would get in and the Broncos still had a chance if either lost but the Bills also lost. The Ravens and Jaguars needed help, including for the Steelers to beat the Bills.
What happened in that Pittsburgh-Buffalo game? Pittsburgh rested several starters including rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger, Jerome Bettis, Plaxico Burress. Remember Tommy Maddox? He started at quarterback. Then-unknown rookie free agent Willie Parker started instead of Bettis. Ironically, the Pittsburgh scrubs beat the Bills 29-24. More heartbreaking for Bills fans was that the Jets lost, so that a win would have put Buffalo in the playoffs.
By possibly not playing starters, Cincinnati is just doing what PIttsburgh has, wisely, done in the past.