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Week 11 Cincinnati Bengals vs Arizona Cardinals: Revisiting all-time matchups

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Cincinnati vs Carson Palmer. Rebounding from their first loss of the season. Two teams battling for playoff seeding. There are many reasons to be excicted about the Bengals upcoming game against the Cardinals. Here's a quick look at their past.

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There isn’t much of a history between these the Bengals and Cardinals. Historically, both teams have been sub-.500 teams, and have seldom met on the gridiron.

They have only played each other 10 times since their first meeting 42 years ago. And back then, they were the St. Louis Cardinals (not to be confused with the other St. Louis Cardinals). To illustrate how rarely these two teams have faced off, they have only met three times since Corey Dillon and Scott Mitchell were leading the Bengals to a 24-13 victory 15 years ago.

Overall, the Bengals have hosted 7 of the 10 head to head matchups, and hold a 6-4 series lead.

Their most recent matchup was a Christmas Eve showdown in 2011, when a surprisingly playoff bound 8-6 Bengals hosted the 7-7 Arizona Cardinals.

The two teams were very different back then. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were both rookies, while the Cardinals were led by John Skelton and Beanie Wells.

On the strength of Andy Dalton touchdown passes to the inestimable Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham, and a trio of Mike Nugent field goals, the Bengals took a commanding 23-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But Nugent missed a pair of field goals, and that opened the door for what turned out to be a fourth quarter of failure.

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals faced a fourth-and-two. With little to lose, they went for it, and converted it. Two plays later John Skelton hit Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown, and a 23-7 score.

The next possession for the Bengals lasted all of four plays before Cedric Benson fumbled the ball away. Arizona Recovered on the Bengals’ 39 yard line. Four plays later, Skelton threw another touchdown pass. The Cardinals failed to convert the two point conversion, but had cut the lead to 23-13 with seven and a half minutes to play.

Following a Bengals’ three-and-out on the next possession, the Cardinals drove into field goal range, and hit a chip shot, reducing the lead to 23-16.

On the ensuing drive, Benson fumbled the ball away for the second time. His second fumble in as many carries gave the Cardinals a first-and-10 on the Bengals’ 22 yard line. With 3:04 left to play, what had been a dominant performance for three quarters, and a 23-0 lead, had turned into a real nail biter.

Fortunately, the Bengals’ defense stepped up big, stopping the Cardinals on downs. The Bengals had the ball and needed one first down to seal a victory. But again, the offense failed to deliver. A personal foul on Nate Livings, and three short rushes for the Bengals did nothing but force the Cardinals to burn their timeouts before they got one final crack at a touchdown, and a chance to force overtime, or go for the victory.

Following Huber’s punt, the Cardinals had 48 seconds, and 60 yards to cover. The Bengals’ defense came up big again, giving up time consuming short pass completions, which ultimately killed the clock before the Cardinals could try a shot at the end zone.

Final: Bengals 23 – Cardinals 16

This year’s matchup holds a lot more interest than previous games between the two teams, and has even been "flexed" to a Sunday night showdown.

Not only does this year’s game bring a rematch with former Bengals’ quarterback Carson Palmer, and tight end Jermaine Gresham, but sets up a pair of teams in first place in their divisions, looking for strong playoff positioning with an 8-1 Bengals team travelling to the 7-2 Cardinals.

The Bengals have the NFL’s top defense in terms of points allowed, allowing only 152 points this year, while the Cardinals have the NFC’s top scoring offense with 302 points. This game is sure to be an exciting matchup.