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Five critical games of 2006.

Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson conducts an interview with Marvin Lewis which he says the typical, we play one week at a time. When given a chance to respond if the Bengals will win the Super Bowl, Lewis says, "I'm not worried about getting to the Super Bowl. I'm just worried about the Kansas City Chiefs." If you've observed what Lewis says at press conferences or interviews, this is his most typical response.

I wanted to put on my Frenchman-like Nostradamus cap for a minute and run through five games that I think are critical to the season.

5. San Diego at Cincinnati, November 12th. My reasoning for this game is strictly wild card. The Broncos will likely win the AFC West and if Cincinnati can't win the AFC North, they'll need to beat the teams that will remain competitive in the wild card race; including the Chargers on week 10.

4. Cincinnati at Indianapolis, MNF, Dec. 18th. Last season's game was one of the most exciting I've seen in a long time. Entering this game late into the season, the Colts and the Bengals could, if things go well, battle for home field advantage.

3. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, Sept. 24th. This game will be considered "payback". Too much bad blood started boiling last January. Cincinnati (fans, team and city) felt cheated losing Palmer which turned the team into half-time self-destruction mode. Going to Pittsburgh and winning would not only be sweet, but set the tone for the season among rivals.

2. Cincinnati at Denver, December 24th. For the same logic against the Colts, one likely scenario will put two division leaders against each other with the chance of winning home-field advantage. I believe this is immensely critical because of how late the season is and the effect it could have on the season's final standings.

1. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, New Years Eve. This game is scheduled for a one o'clock start but is listed as a possible game that could be bumped for NBC's Sunday Night game. If that's the case, we have a Sunday night game to close the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers ON New Years Eve. Talk about a hangover of epic proportions.

What are your thoughts? What five games do you think are critical for the season?