The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) come into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (7-7) in what may be the most important match-up of the week. Giants-Ravens and 49ers-Seahawks will give the game a run for its money, but on paper, the idea of two bitter divisional rivals battling to eliminate each other from playoff contention wins out.

Of course that’s on paper. In reality the Steelers are sliding and desperately trying to hold on to the remnants of a season that has been devastated by injury and terrible play at essential points. Meanwhile the Bengals have gone hot then cold then hot again to be a shade above .500.

So this could be called the changing of the guard, the surging Bengals are replacing the ageing, floundering Steelers. But not so quick. The Bengals were unable to make much of an impact when they faced the Steelers earlier this year. Despite leading 14-3 at one point, the Bengals collapsed spectacularly and the Steelers walked away 24-17 victors.

It’s still up to the Bengals to prove they are the second team in the AFC North. Key to them doing so will be receiver, AJ Green. Green is likely to face Steelers’ cornerback, Keenan Lewis for most of the night with Ike Taylor still out injured. As mentioned previously, Lewis has been one of the few bright-spots in a sub-par Steelers season. Whether Lewis can step up and shut down one of the premier young receivers in the league remains to be seen, however.

Last time out, Green was only able to grab one pass for a total of eight yards. He’s likely to get more this time around but if the Steelers can limit his impact on the game, they’ll go a long way to securing their second victory over Cinci.

When Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger takes the field, the serious battle will be between the offensive and defensive lines as Pittsburgh tries to protect their quarterback and get some sort of running game going. The Bengals have an excellent tackle duo in Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. Steelers’ interior linemen, center Maurkice Pouncey and (likely) starting guards David DeCastro and Ramon Foster will need to contain Peko and Atkins in order for the Steelers to get their offense going.

Other than that, the Steelers have to eliminate the costly mistakes and turnovers that have cost them potential wins against the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys in consecutive weeks. Receivers Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders must avoid fumbles and dropped passes.

The Steelers are favoured by three and a half points playing at home. Both teams are on the ropes and desperately need this win to continue their season. Much of the south, south-west, north-west and the area around Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will be able to see the game on local CBS stations at 1 PM EST. Everyone else knows the drill by this point, either pay for NFL Gamepass or find a live streaming site. 

Where To Watch Online: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens