ESPN recently ranked the toughest places in the NFL to play based on the votes of the NFL division bloggers, including the AFC North blogger James Walker. When the vote was over, the team's stadium with the most first place votes was the Green Bay Packers, making Lambeau Field the toughest place for a visiting team to win in.
According to the ESPN NFL bloggers, the second toughest place to play in the NFL is Heinz Field, the home of Bengals divisional opponent the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is surprising at all ,really. The Steelers yearly record is easily good enough for this to be true. What is surprising though is the fact that the Bengals, who have a terrible record agains the Steelers, have actually been better against them in Heinz Field over the past 10 years than they have been in Paul Brown Stadium.
While the Bengals have been 1-9 against the Steelers in Cincinnati in the last 10 years, they have gone 4-6 against them in Pittsburgh. In the last last 10 years, the Bengals offense has average 277.3 yards per game, 76.9 rushing and 202.4 passing, against the Steelers in Pittsburgh while they averaged 263.6 yards per game, 74.9 rushing and 209.6 passing, against the Steelers in Cincinnati.
That's not much of a difference, but where the biggest difference lies is in the average total points scored. The Bengals offense averaged 14.5 points per game and the defense allowed an average of 26 points per game when the two teams play in Cincinnati. When they're in Pittsburgh, the Bengals offense averaged 18 points per game and the defense only allowed 22.7 points per game.
That's a swing of more than a touchdown.
So, it appears that even though the Steelers' Heinz Field is the second toughest place out of all 32 teams to play in the NFL, the Bengals are actually better there than they are playing against the Steelers on their own field.
Only the Bengals would be that backwards.