Top Stories of 2013: No. 7, Homefield Advantage

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our top-ten stories of 2013, we take a look at one of the biggest advantages that Cincinnati has had this entire season. Home.

When opposing teams come to Cincinnati, they admit to Bengals players (following devastating losses, no less) that Paul Brown Stadium is now a tough environment to play in. Players have pride in defending their home. Fans enhance it. It hasn't been like this before.

"There’s no question we’re starting to create this as a tough place to come win," Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth says. "Offenses are struggling to come in here and play well because not only is it a good defense, the atmosphere is loud and it affects your calls and makes it hard when you want to get the ball out quick. Your timing can be off.

"When you start creating that environment, it gives you a chance, honestly, to be that much better as a team. Because every single team has to worry about coming into a tough environment, and they've also got to play you."

Take a bow Bengals fans.

For the first time since 1988, the Cincinnati Bengals went undefeated at home. It's only the fourth time in franchise history, joining the '88 squad, as well as the '82 team (strike-shortened season) and the '73 squad (only played seven games on a 14-game regular season schedule).

Not only are they winning games, they're winning big by an average score of 34-17 with an scoring output of 41.6 points per game over the last five home games. They've also defeated playoff-bound teams like the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers.

The Bengals have won nine consecutive home games. The franchise record is 10. Unfortunately the count doesn't include postseason wins (not sure why) so this story will be on hold until next season.

"We have a 12th man," BenJarvus Green-Ellis said. "The fans are doing a real good job making it hard on our opponents, and we've done a good job feeding off their energy."

Home sweet home.

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