INDIANAPOLIS – A less than two-hour drive across I-74 separates a pair of AFC division leaders who will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
This time it will be the Bengals (3-1-1) making the short trek northwest to take on the AFC South leading Colts (4-2) in a matchup of two teams who played in January last year.
Both currently sit atop the divisions they won last year and Sunday's tilt could have playoff implications.
The Bengals offense has been very balanced in 2014, despite All-Pro receiver A.J. Green catching just 17 passes on the year.
Reports out there have Green not playing on Sunday (toe injury), which means the Colts will see a heavy dose of Giovani Bernard.
The second-year running back has 86 carries for 384 yards in the Bengals five games this season.
In the Bengals 37-37 tie to the Panthers on Sunday, Bernard ripped off an 89-yard touchdown run to put yet another highlight of his young career on film.
Quarterback Andy Dalton has completed 68.2 percent of his passes and has been sacked just twice in 151 pass attempts.
The Bengals defense, a unit that has been among the league's best the past few years, has struggled a bit in 2014.
Cincinnati has given up 77 points in regulation the last two weeks (a loss and a tie) after allowing just a combined 33 points in the first three weeks (all wins).
Sunday continues a six-game stretch of the Colts playing teams with records of .500 or better.
*2014 Record: *3-1-1, 1st in the AFC North
*Head Coach: *Marvin Lewis, 12th season as Bengals head coach (93-86-2 overall in the regular season and 0-5 in the playoffs).
*2014 NFL Rankings: *Offense – Overall, 5th (397.0); Rushing, 11th (127.4); Passing, 8th (269.6). Defense – Overall, 28th (398.8); Rushing, 28th (141.4); Passing, 22nd (257.4).
2014 Leading Passer: Andy Dalton (103-of-151 comp., 1,249 yards, 68.2 pct., 6 TDs, 3 INTs).
*2014 Leading Rusher: *Giovani Bernard (86 carries, 384 yards, 4 TDs).
*2014 Leading Receiver: *Mohamed Sanu (27 receptions, 354 yards, 3 TDs).
2014 Leading Sacker: Carlos Dunlap (3.0).
2014 Turnover Breakdown: plus 2 (tied for 10th).
2014 NFL Draft Results: Despite drafting later in the first round, the Bengals found some productive players in May. Former Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard fell to the 24th pick of the opening round. In the second round, LSU running back Jeremy Hill has been there to spell starter Giovani Bernard. Center Russell Bodine was the choice in the fourth round and he was a player some mock drafts had the Colts selecting.
*2013 Review: *The Bengals continued their recent rise to the top of the AFC North with an 11-5 season last year. Cincinnati got off to a 6-2 start in 2013 and then recovered from back-to-back losses to win five of their last six games. The postseason though once again spelled trouble for the Bengals. San Diego came to Cincinnati for the Wild Card round and headed back west with a 27-10 victory. It marked the third straight season the Bengals fell in their opening playoff game.
Last time in Playoffs: 2013 season. Lost in the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs, 27-10, to the San Diego Charges.
*Last time in Super Bowl: *1988 season.
*Super Bowl Championships: *Never.
2014 Pro Bowl Selections: LB-Vontaze Burfict and WR-A.J. Green.