Cincinnati Bengals: Hot Bengals Meet Team Just as Hungry in Week 14 Contest

Alex PetermanCorrespondent IIIDecember 8, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Running back Cedric Peerman #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball, as quarterback Andy Dalton #14 looks on against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 2, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In essence, this game is a must-win for both teams if they want to want to stay in the playoff race.

The Bengals are looking at staying with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the second AFC wild card hangs in the balance of the two AFC North rivals. The Bengals need to focus on getting to the matchup between themselves and the Steelers in Week 16, unscathed from their next two games.

Otherwise, the ability to pull ahead of Pittsburgh might very well depend on a mistake by the Steelers. Right now, the Cincinnati Bengals control their own destiny.  So do the Steelers. It will be close down the stretch.

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t setting their eyes on a wild card just yet. Dallas is looking at taking the NFC East division crown instead. With the New York Giants recent loss to Washington last week, they find themselves just a single game ahead of the Cowboys.

The Cowboys also control the divisional tie-breaker if it comes to it.

However, for Dallas to get a chance at taking the division lead on Sunday, they’ll have to beat a Bengals team that needs a win just as much as they do.

Which ought to make for a very interesting game, shouldn’t it?

In fact, it’s also a game I’d fully expect bettors to say away from, because I could see either team ending the game with a win. The Bengals are currently favored by three with a 45.5 point spread, according to Sporting News.

Those betting statistics show us just how small the room for error in this game will be. The winner will ultimately be the team with the fewest mistakes and that makes the most big plays.

Although the Bengals are favored by eight out of 12 analysts on, Cincinnati shouldn’t sleep on a dangerous Dallas opponent.