Bengals look to end embarrassing streak

Cincinnati Bengals fans are rightfully excited about their team’s return to the spotlight on “Monday Night Football.” It has been almost two years since they were featured on the big stage.
The Bengals’ opponent Monday, the Baltimore Ravens, are expected to contend for the AFC North title and at least get back into the 2012-13 NFL postseason.
That’s where the problem lies.
The Bengals have lost their past 15 games against teams that went on to make the playoffs. Open the history books a little further, and they have lost 20 of their past 21 games against postseason-bound opponents.
A little bright spot: That one win was against Baltimore.
The 21-game skid began in 2009. The Bengals were 9-3 and cruising towards their own spot in the playoffs when they traveled north to face Minnesota. The Vikings crushed the Bengals 30-10, and they went on to win the NFC North.  Carson Palmer threw for an anemic 94 yards, and Adrian Peterson scored two second-half touchdowns to put the game away.
The following week, San Diego beat Cincinnati 27-24 en route to an AFC West title. Nate Kaeding hit a 52-yard field goal with three seconds left in the game, clinching the victory and the Chargers’ spot in the postseason.
The Bengals’ 2009 season never fully rebounded from those defeats, and it ended with back-to-back losses to the New York Jets.  A 37-0 beatdown in the regular season was followed up by a 24-14 in the AFC Wild-Card game.
In 2010, the Bengals faced nine teams that made the playoffs. 
Their record for those nine games was 1-8. Signing Terrell Owens to team up with Chad Ochocinco didn’t work out the way the Bengals hoped it would.
After losing to New England in Week 1, they took down Baltimore 15-10 in Week 2. Without scoring a single touchdown, they beat the tough Ravens defense thanks to Mike Nugent’s five field goals.
It was the last time they beat a playoff team. Since then, the results have not been pretty:
Date Opponent  Score  Opp. Playoff berth 
Oct. 24, 2010 Atlanta  Loss – 39-32  NFC South champion 
Nov. 8, 2010 Pittsburgh  Loss – 27-21  AFC North champion 
Nov. 14, 2010  Indianapolis  Loss – 23-17  AFC South champion 
Nov. 25, 2010  New York Jets  Loss – 26-10  AFC wild-card team 
Dec. 5, 2010  New Orleans  Loss – 34-30  NFC wild-card team 
Dec 12, 2010  Pittsburgh  Loss – 23-7  AFC North champion 
Jan 2, 2011  Baltimore   Loss – 13-7  AFC wild-card team 
Sept. 18, 2011  Denver  Loss – 24-22  AFC West champion 
Sept. 25, 2011  San Francisco  Loss – 13-8  NFC West champion 
Nov. 13, 2011  Pittsburgh  Loss – 24-17  AFC wild-card team 
Nov. 20, 2011  Baltimore  Loss – 31-24  AFC North champion 
Dec 4, 2011  Pittsburgh  Loss – 35-7  AFC wild-card team 
Dec. 11, 2011  Houston  Loss – 20-19  AFC South champion 
Jan. 1, 2012  Baltimore   Loss – 24-16  AFC North champion 
Jan. 7, 2012  Houston  Loss – 31-10  AFC South champion 
Yes, the Bengals have won 11 games since this streak began. But not a single one of those 11 wins came against a team that made the postseason that year.
Obviously, we won’t know if the Bengals’ game Monday night will continue the streak or snap it until later this year, when the playoff picture begins to form.  
But it’s still an interesting streak, especially for a team that actually made the playoffs last year and is expected to contend for another berth.