The Bengals are currently seventh in the AFC, with both Indianapolis and Pittsburgh ahead of them in the playoff seeding, while the Cowboys are eighth in the NFC standings, trailing Washington, Seattle, and Chicago for one of those coveted wild-card slots. Only six teams make the playoffs in both conferences, so both the Bengals and Cowboys are currently on the outside looking in.
However, this is a much bigger game for the Bengals than it is the Cowboys. The Cowboys—even with a loss—still have an outside shot at the NFC East division title if the New York Giants were to lose to the New Orleans Saints today. The Bengals, meanwhile, have only one real hope—the sixth wild-card slot.
Several factors will have to break the Bengals' way if they hope to steal that sixth spot in the AFC, and here are four reasons why this game is so important to their chances.