The AFC’s final Wild Card spot and possibly the AFC North are on the line as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Cincinnati currently owns the No. 6 seed and are one game up on the Steelers. The Bengals do have a shot to move up and capture the division, but must win their final two games and need Baltimore to drop their last two.
A win Sunday would catapult Pittsburgh into the playoffs, as they’d own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Bengals.
Cincinnati has won five of their last six games, including a 34-13 romp of the Philadelphia Eagles. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has his fourth 100-yard plus game of the year, and the Bengals forced five Eagles turnovers. Wallace Gilberry returned one of Philadelphia’s four turnovers 25 yards for a score late in the third quarter for a 24-13 lead and eventually the win.
Quarterback Andy Dalton 13-for-27 for 127 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for another score.
The 7-7 Steelers did not have as strong a performance against the Dallas Cowboys last week, falling 27-24 in overtime.
Ben Roethlisberger’s interception on Pittsburgh’s first possession in overtime handed Dallas the victory after a 21-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey. Roethlisberger threw for 339 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, as the Steelers have now lost four of their last five games.
Showing his frustration, Roethlisberger questioned offensive coordinator Scott Haley’s play calling, but later publicly apologized as his criticism led fans and the media to suggest he was also taking aim at head coach Mike Tomlin with his comments.
The game begins at 1 p.m. EDT and will be shown by CBS, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: Pittsburgh is favored by 5 points
Over/Under: 43 points
Prediction: This game will hinge on which defense breaks down first. The Bengals have one of the best pass rushes in the league, and can harass Roethlisberger all game. Dalton also has his hands full against Pittsburgh's top ranked secondary. Look for the Bengals to pull out a late victory with receiver A.J. Green having a big game.
Predicted Score: Cincinnati 17, Pittsburgh 10