It’s hard to say that one game in the NFL regular season is more important than another game. With only 16 regular season games to determine which teams deserve a shot at the playoffs and which teams deserve an extra month two to sit at home and think things over, teams must take advantage of every opportunity they receive.
Or, at least, that’s what you would think. The Bengals have not done a very good job of taking advantage of every opportunity they've encountered this season, currently sitting at 3-4-1. But, due to mediocre seasons from the Baltimore Ravens (5-4), the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5), and the abysmal season from the Cleveland Browns (0-10), the Bengals still have a very realistic shot at making the playoffs. But, it’s going to require taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves as well as winning key games. Here are three of the most important games on the Bengals' remaining schedule. Which do you think is the biggest game left this year?
Week 10 @ New York Giants
Coming off the bye week, the Bengals have a chance to kick off their second half playoff push with what is, more or less, a return to a new season. If the Bengals take down the Giants this week, they will return to over .500 (4-4-1) and will have seven weeks to determine where they go from there. The Ravens will be a half game ahead in the AFC North, but the Bengals still get to play them twice. And, the Steelers did the Bengals a big favor by falling to the Cowboys in Week 10.
Week 12 @ Baltimore Ravens
Yes, the Bengals host the Ravens in Week 17, so this game is only one part of a second half series that the Bengals need to perform well in if they want a shot at the AFC North crown. But, the hope is that the game in Cincinnati should be easier for the Bengals to win, if only because they have their home crowd behind them. Winning in Baltimore will be a much bigger accomplishment, not to mention the momentum a win would give the Bengals with four games left to play in 2016. If all goes well, this game could hand the Bengals the division lead.
Week 15 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Bengals already lost in Week 2 to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, so this game will be crucial. Yes, the Ravens are the team to beat in the AFC right now. But, if the Bengals do beat the Ravens, they still need to hold off the Steelers. The Bengals played the Steelers close in Week 2 and, as they currently sit at 4-5, this feels like a winnable game for a Bengals team that needs to perform well in their division.
What do you think, Bengals fans? Let us know which game you believe is most important remaining game this year in the poll and comments section below.