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Bengals look to right ship vs Ravens in season finale after Week 12 loss

The Bengals were on a winning streak against the Ravens prior to 2016 and they will hope to get back to that this week in order to end the 2016 NFL season on a high note.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a rough season for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016. They have lost nine games so far this season, one of which came against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. At the time, the game felt like the Bengals’ last real chance to make a run at the playoffs. It seems like a fevered dream now, but there was a time in 2016 when the Bengals’ chances of stealing a playoff spot weren’t too far-fetched. But after they lost to the Ravens, one week after losing A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard to injuries, things seemed hopeless.

In that Week 12 matchup, the Ravens controlled the game for the most part and, despite a late push by the Bengals, hung on for the 19-14 victory.

Had the Bengals won, their upcoming two game win streak would have put them at 6-6-1 when they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, another very close loss that could have turned out differently. That’s not to say that the Bengals would have held onto their momentum, but it would have given the Bengals more to play for than merely staving off official elimination.

The Bengals’ Week 12 loss was a notable one because it was the first time the Bengals lost to the Ravens since Week 10 of the 2013 season. For the most part, the Dalton-Green-led Bengals have owned the Ravens. But, this era has also yet to see a year go as poorly as things have gone in 2016.

The aforementioned Week 10 loss in 2013 was a thrilling overtime game in which A.J. Green caught a last second Hail Mary pass from Andy Dalton at the end of regulation. Unfortunately, the Bengals’ offense stalled in depressing fashion in overtime and the Ravens went on to win by a field goal. Before that, the Bengals put together an impressive 23-17 victory in Week 17 of the 2012 season. It allowed the Bengals to tie the Ravens for first place in the AFC North at 10-6, but the Ravens held the tiebreaker and the Bengals were relegated to a wild card spot.

Unfortunately, they were creamed by the Ravens earlier that year by a score of 44-13, but six of the Bengals’ last eight games over the Ravens have been wins. That number won’t change if they win this week, but it will put them back on the winning track against a division rival and end the season on a high note.

That said, the Bengals haven’t been swept by the Ravens in a season since the 2011 season. Then again, in the current era, this will be the first time that the Bengals have faced the Ravens in a meaningless game. Both the Bengals and Ravens are eliminated from playoff contention, so neither team will be playing for anything other than pride. It will all come down to which team gets to notch another win in the all-time series between the franchises.

“You’re still playing for pride. You have to treat it like it’s a normal week and prepare the same way,” Dalton said of the game. “There’s part of you that thinks you’re not playing for anything, but that’s what you have to fight. You have to do things the same way you’ve done them the whole year.”

If the Bengals can notch another win this week, they can still hold claim to having generally dominated the Ravens in recent history. In fact, the Bengals’ combined deficit against the Ravens in their only two losses of the last four years amounts to only eight points. But, their combined surplus in their six wins amounts to 45 points. A win on Sunday will allow the Bengals to build momentum going into 2017, at which point they can hopefully return to their winning ways for the long-term and make it back to the postseason for a Super Bowl run.

Pinch us if we’re dreaming, it’s the final week of the season, after all.