Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (1, 45)
The last thing the Pittsburgh Steelers need is another injury, but they got one when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned his right ankle in practice Thursday. Roethlisberger, though, will play when the Steelers try for their fifth straight victory over the Bengals when they visit Cincinnati on Sunday night in a key AFC North game. Roethlisberger is off to the best start of his career with 10 touchdowns and a 99.9 rating, but the Steelers are struggling defensively with safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison appearing in only two games apiece. Cincinnati has lost two straight and is coming off a 34-24 loss at previously winless Cleveland.TV:
8:20 p.m. ET, NBC.LINE:
Steelers -1, O/U 45. WEATHER:
Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-50s under clear skies. Winds will be light out of the south.ABOUT THE STEELERS (2-3):
Pittsburgh's injury problems aren't reserved for the defense. Running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle), and tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) will not play, while center Maurkice Pouncey (knee) is unlikely to play. Polamalu (calf) and linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring) are also out, but linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) fully participated in practice this week. Without a running game (31st in the NFL, 74.8 yards per contest), the Steelers have relied on Roethlisberger's arm more than ever and have protected him pretty well (10 sacks). Antonio Brown has a team-high 29 catches while Mike Wallace and Heath Miller share the team lead with four touchdowns apiece.ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-3):
Cincinnati's 3-1 start is a distant memory after losses to Miami and Cleveland, but the Bengals can return to the path which can lead them to their second straight postseason appearance by taking advantage of a vulnerable Steelers' team. Cincinnati's best chance appears to be through the air as Andy Dalton leads the No. 8 passing attack with a 66.0 percent completion rate and 12 touchdowns. Dalton's go-to receiver is A.J. Green, who is tied for second in the NFL with six touchdown catches and tied for third with 43 receptions. The Bengals have hurt themselves with a minus-7 turnover margin, including minus-4 in the last two games. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is tied for fifth in the NFL with 6.0 sacks.TRENDS:
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Cincinnati.
* Over is 4-0 in Steelers’ last four road games.
* Steelers are 0-7 ATS in their last seven road games.EXTRA POINTS:
1. This is Mike Tomlin's worst start as coach of the Steelers. Pittsburgh was at least 6-2 in each of his first five seasons.
2. Roethlisberger, a native of Lima, Ohio, is 14-2 in games played in his home state - 7-1 at Cincinnati and 7-1 at Cleveland.
3. Pittsburgh has won nine of the last 11 meetings, including 24-17 and 35-7 victories last season. Dalton was only 26-of-54 for 305 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the two games, while Roethlisberger was 23-of-56 for 421 yards, three TDs and one pick.