While a neutral-site battle might have been ideal for Cincinnati, the Bengals were always going to be underdogs, and with that comes a certain mentality, one that many still think the team possesses.
Mike Zimmer, who was the former defensive coordinator for the team along with long-time head coach Marvin Lewis, talked about how the Bengals are playing with that chip on their shoulder.
"They're having the time of their life and they love that chip on their shoulder."— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) January 19, 2023
The #Bengals are out to prove the doubters wrong.
️ @MarvinLewis & Mike Zimmer | #RuleTheJungle pic.twitter.com/iLxIw0Jjx7
Lewis mentions the mentality of running back Joe Mixon and wideout Tyler Boyd, two players that competed under him prior to the Zac Taylor-era beginning. He notes they’re embracing the underdog mentality, and from what other reports have surfaced, it’s clear this team is set to battle for their postseason lives Sunday.
The Bengals are currently 5.5-point underdogs via DraftKings, which insinuates they would be slight underdogs (typically, three points is given for homefield advantage) on a neutral field.
Nonetheless, this team has the talent all over the field to give Buffalo all they can handle, and after Josh Allen had another multi-turnover game against the Dolphins, anything seems possible for the defending AFC champs.
Both the Bengals and Bills failed to cover the spread in their Wild Card battle, and it will be crucial Cincinnati learns from those shortcomings.
Expect a close game as the Bengals play with that underdog mentality, which will hopefully spark execution that leads the team to their second-straight AFC Championship Game.