Who Are The Cincinnati Bengals' Biggest Rivals?
The Cincinnati Bengals are a National Football League (NFL) franchise that has been around since 1968. As is the case with all NFL teams, during those 55 years, they have developed some pretty intense rivalries. Since they moved to the AFC North division and began playing the three teams below twice a year, those rivalries have only intensified. Read on to learn about the Bengals’ greatest rivals in the NFL.
The number one rival for the Cincinnati Bengals are their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns. Their matchup is considered one of the most intense rivalries in the NFL and is often referred to as the “Battle for Ohio.” Overall, in 99 meetings between the two, Cincinnati holds a slight edge with 52 wins against Cleveland’s 47 wins. The first meeting between the teams came in 1970, and the Browns edged out a 30-27 win. Cleveland would then go on to win six of the first seven Battles for Ohio.
From 1973 on, the series was pretty back and forth, with neither team having an extended run of domination, but the Bengals were winning more than they were losing to take the overall lead in the series. That all changed in 2018, as Cleveland began a streak of winning eight of the next nine matchups. Though the Browns continue to mostly dominate, the Bengals fans are certainly hoping for more success in the Battle for Ohio in the years to come.
The second-biggest rival of the Bengals is the team they have played the most often in their 55-year history, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two teams have played 107 times since their first matchup in 1970, including two postseason meetings. The series was pretty even early on, as during the first nine matchups, the Steelers won five, and the Bengals won four. However, the Steelers would then win the next six meetings, and that really set the tone for how this series has gone.
Overall, the Steelers have won 68 times compared to just 38 victories for Cincinnati. This includes a recent stretch where the Steelers won 14 out of 15 games between the two from 2013 to 2020. Since the end of that streak, however, the Bengals have won four out of five, so they have slowly been turning the series around.
Finally, in their two postseason matchups, the Steelers have come out on top each time. The first was in the 2006 Wild Card Round, which the Steelers won 31-17. The second was in that same round a decade later, in 2016, with the Steelers again edging out the win 18-16. Bengals fans are certainly hoping that both these playoff woes and their overall woes against the Steelers are behind them with the recent success of the team.
The third biggest rival for the Bengals is the Baltimore Ravens. The two met for the first time in 1996, and the Bengals won both meetings that year. Overall, in their 55 matchups, which includes one meeting in the postseason this year, the Ravens hold the slightest of edges with 28 wins to the Bengals’ 27 victories.
Neither team has had a long stretch of domination, with the Ravens’ longest winning streak in the series being six matchups from 1998 to 2000 and the Bengals’ longest winning streak being five games from 2013 to 2016.
Of late, the Bengals have been getting the better of their rival, winning four of the last five matchups, including their postseason meeting in January 2023. In that Wild Card matchup, the Bengals took the lead in the fourth quarter on a defensive touchdown and hung on for a 24-17 victory. With the history of the Ravens and the recent success of the Bengals, expect this rivalry to be extremely close for the foreseeable future in the AFC North.
Who is the biggest rival of the Cincinnati Bengals?
While the Steelers have been the Bengals’ most common opponent over the years, their biggest rival has to be their in-state foe, the Cleveland Browns. This is because of the geographical closeness of the two teams (both being in Ohio) and the relative evenness of the series over the years. Appropriately, their matchups are known as the “Battle for Ohio,'' and the two teams have often expressed extreme distaste for each other throughout their history. Since their first meeting in 1970, the Bengals hold a slight edge with 52 wins to the Browns 47 in the 99 meetings.