In 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals had lady luck on their side.
With a rookie quarterback (Andy Dalton) passing to a rookie No. 1 wideout (AJ Green) in a West Coast offense called by first-year coordinator Jay Gruden - the upstart Bengals shocked the league, as their 6-2 record through eight games led the AFC North.
Then, in Week 10 of the regular season, the hated Pittsburgh Steelers would come into town.
As has been the case recently, the Steelers would walk out of Paul Brown Stadium victorious, this particular time by a score of 24-17.
The loss would send the Bengals into a downward spiral that saw them lose five of their next eight games, including the AFC Wild Card game.
So it should come as no surprise that, for the Cincinnati Bengals, their biggest home game of the 2012 season occurs on Sunday, October 21st
, when the Steelers visit once again. The Bengals will be looking to avenge a loss that saw Andy Dalton throw two interceptions - including one late in the fourth quarter to seal it for the Steelers - and buck a disturbing recent trend. To be exact, the Steelers are 10-1 versus Cincy in their last 11 meetings in Ohio.
Not only that, but a Sunday night game on NBC will give the Bengals the perfect chance to prove to the nation that they deserved to be mentioned with Baltimore and Pittsburgh as contenders in the AFC North.
The Bengals knew they needed to be aggressive in the offseason to compete in this division, and the game versus the Steelers should be the perfect opportunity to see if such additions, including running back BenJarvis Green-Ellis, have a positive impact.
The bad blood that exists in the rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers is not going away anytime soon. For the Bengals, who have had trouble protecting their home field as of late, October 21st
is the ideal time to exact vengeance.