As the Bengals head up north to face the Browns today, only one thing should be on their minds. Win the game. Now is not the time for a stumble. There needs to be no doubt in the organization about the caliber of team that is currently assembled in Cincinnati. Stumbling against a Browns team that is hungry for any ray of hope could plant a bad seed in the minds of some about what these Bengals are capable of.
Sure, no one (well some already do) will discredit the Bengals body of work, but what will happen is the "but's" will start to trickle into conversations. Like, "yeah, the Bengals are good and all, BUT, they did lose to Cleveland and Houston"...
I don't think it is going to happen. This is not how this team is built. If the Bengals struggle, the leaders on the team have a way of picking up the pieces. We have seen many times this season the Bengals bear down and pull out a game where they faced adversity. One thing that separates the 2015 Bengals from past teams is the leadership. We are finally seeing it from the right place. Andy Dalton is the CEO of the guys on the field and he is acting like it.
The other piece of the puzzle today is health. While the Bengals are a deep team on paper, there is a reason why there are starters and backups. For the Bengals to solve the postseason mystery that has alluded them, they are going to need their number ones in the game for the most important games of the year. We will save that talk for the appropriate time in a handful of weeks.
Now, go to Cleveland, win and come home. It's as simple as that.