Turn back the clock to 1990, and you will find the last time that the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in three straight games. In fact, the Bengals reeled off a string of six straight victories over their arch-enemies, beginning with the 1998 season.
Unfortunately, that type of domination is rare, at least from the Cincinnati perspective. Pittsburgh leads the rivalry 67-37-0, including a string of 11 straight wins that began with the second game of the 2015 season and finally ended last season.
The rivalry has seen more than its fair share of brutal hits, from Kimo von Oelhoffen’s destruction of Carson Palmer’s knee in the 2005 wild card playoff game, to Hines Ward’s blindside block on Keith Rivers in 2009 to Vontaze Burfict’s infamous shot to the head of Antonio Brown during the 2015 wildcard playoff meltdown.
When the rivalry renews on Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium, it will be the Steelers who will be trying to reverse the trend. Cincinnati won the second meeting of the 2020 season by a score of 27-17, then won the opener this season in Pittsburgh, 24-10, to make it two in a row.
Both teams have had problems with consistency this season. Pittsburgh got off to a slow start with losses in three of its first four games, then followed the Bengals’ with a string of four straight victories before a Week 10 tie with the Lions. The Steelers dropped a 41-37 decision to the Los Angeles Chargers last week.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, jumped out to a 5-2 start, including an impressive 41-17 thrashing of the Baltimore Ravens, before dropping two straight to the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. The Bengals rebounded in style by dismantling the Las Vegas Raiders last week by a score of 32-13.
The oddsmakers initially listed Cincinnati as a 4.5-point favorite, but that edge was down to 3.5 points by this morning. One thing we know for certain - it’s going to be a war.
Who will win the 105th edition of the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati rivalry game?
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