Most fans who follow the NFL know of the Cincinnati Bengals lengthy playoff drought. Most also realize Marvin Lewis has never won a playoff game as a head coach. And most know the Pittsburgh Steelers, and more importantly Ben Roethlisberger, have played extremely well in Paul Brown Stadium.
When looking at the past, it is hard to ignore some of these cold hard facts about Cincinnati both in prime time, the playoffs and against Pittsburgh. Some might shake these off, but the past has a tendency to repeat itself, and if so, it could be another one-and-done season for Marvin Lewis and company with an extended offseason after a Wild Card playoff loss.
Cole Harvey of ESPN.com posted this gem yesterday:
Recent history isn't on the Bengals' side Saturday night. When you combine their playoff, prime-time and vs. Pittsburgh records under Marvin Lewis, they are 16-44. (8-19 in prime time, 8-19 vs. Pittsburgh in the regular season, 0-6 in the playoffs)
Those are some horrendous numbers for the Bengals, as they try to end the streak this Saturday night on prime time television at home. Speaking of playing at home, the Steelers are 14-3 all time at Paul Brown Stadium since it has opened, and that trend could certainly continue this weekend.
Both teams could be without key offensive players entering the playoffs. The Bengals are not sure if Andy Dalton will be able to play with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, and the Steelers are unsure of DeAngelo Williams' right ankle injury suffered against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17. If Dalton cannot play, it will be AJ McCarron quarterbacking the team for his 4th straight start.
The Steelers are looking to exorcise their own playoff demons as they haven't won a playoff game in 5 years, the longest stretch since 1972 for the organization, and another Wild Card loss to a division rival could be enough to drive the proud franchise, and their fan base, insane.
Nonetheless, there is no love lost between these two AFC North teams, and when the ball is kicked off at 8:20 p.m. EDT Saturday in Cincinnati, OH, all the records, stats and injury reports go out the window and it becomes another football game. One of these two teams will get the proverbial monkey off their back this Saturday, but history certainly favors the team from Pittsburgh, PA.