Can Bengals overcome roadblock to win @Denver?

Posted at 4:45 PM, Dec 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 16:46:32-05

CINCINNATI (AP) — In addition to wrapping up a No. 2 playoff seed, the Bengals have a chance to get another notable breakthrough in Denver on Monday night. They've rarely won such a game on the road.

A victory would leave them 7-1 on the road this season, the best mark in the team's 48-year history. It also would end a streak of futility - Cincinnati hasn't won a Monday night game on the road since 1990.

With so much at stake and such a futile past, this one means a lot more than most regular season games.

"It's a playoff game," cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones said.

Whether it's the regular season or the playoffs, the Bengals have rarely done much on the road:

> Cincinnati is 3-16 in Monday night games on the road, having lost their last five games in Buffalo, Miami, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Baltimore. Their last Monday night road win came at Cleveland during the 1990 season, which also is the last time the Bengals won a playoff game.

> The Bengals have never won a playoff game on the road. They've won five playoff games at home, but they're 0-13 on the road.

> The best they've done on the road during the regular season is 6-2, and they've done that only three other times - 1981, 2005 and 2012.

> More often than not, the Bengals have been trying just to win more than they lose on the road. They've finished a season with only one road win or none in 13 of their 48 seasons. This season is only the 10th time they've finished with a winning road record.

They've gotten better lately at holding their own away from home. They've had winning road records in four of the last five seasons. Their 25-14 road mark in the regular season over the last five years is third-best in the NFL, trailing New England and Denver.

The next step would be to win on Monday. And they're relying on backup quarterback AJ McCarron, making his second NFL start in place of the injured Andy Dalton, to help them get through a high-pressure game.

"The young guys have probably never been in this situation," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "Obviously they've never had the magnitude of what this game will be on Monday, so that'll be different for them."

The Bengals have been better on the road overall in the last few years because they've kept their roster virtually intact, giving them a lot of experience in those situations. Also, coach Marvin Lewis has kept the team's weekly routine the same to provide more of a comfort zone on the road.

"I think our guys have done a good job — coaches, players, and staff — of making sure everything goes smoothly when we travel," Lewis said. "Everything is the same preparing the guys from Monday all the way through to next week. Taking out any of the anxiety.

"Our guys have really done a good job with the maturity of that and handling that."

Now it's about finally getting that one big win on the road.

"I think it's a heck of a challenge," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said.

Notes: TE Tyler Eifert was ruled out for the game because of a concussion. He got hurt during a 33-20 loss to Pittsburgh and will miss his second straight game. Eifert has been the Bengals' best receiving threat near the end zone, catching 12 touchdown passes.