Is tonight’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens the biggest game in Amazon Prime football history?
Consider the stakes in the toughest division in football, two Super Bowl contenders, both coming off losses but still playing among the best in the league and two elite quarterbacks. Maybe it’s just the stink of Carolina Panthers–Chicago Bears still coming off my Roku remote, but I’d venture to say this tops the list.
Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan put it this way: “This feels like a playoff game in November.”
In some ways, it will be. The path to a championship grows substantially tougher if the Bengals can’t pull this off. Consider the math.
Cincinnati would have five losses, be 0-3 in the division and 1-5 in the AFC. With the tiebreaker gone by virtue of a season sweep, the Bengals would be two-and-a-half games back of Baltimore in the AFC North with seven games to go. The idea of the Ravens sputtering to 4-3 the rest of the way and neither Pittsburgh nor Cleveland reaching 12 wins — all while the Bengals somehow win out — would be an extreme long shot.
If the Bengals lose tonight, a third consecutive AFC North title essentially comes off the table. The AFC playoff picture will continue to be murky and any deep run would likely have to come away from Paycor Stadium.
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