Preview: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

When: 8:30 PM ET, Sunday, December 28, 2014
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


The Cincinnati Bengals earned a playoff slot by knocking off Denver on Monday night, but they have plenty to play for when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night in a showdown for the AFC North title. Cincinnati has to overcome a short week following Monday's win and find a way to avenge a 21-point home loss to the Steelers on Dec. 7. “I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. “It’s always good to be playing meaningful football in December.”

Pittsburgh has won three straight and seven of nine to return to the postseason following a two-year hiatus that featured consecutive 8-8 records. The Steelers scored 25 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun Cincinnati three weeks ago and will claim the No. 3 seed with a victory. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton missed practice Wednesday and is among a number of key players battling the flu while Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green is questionable due to an arm injury. 

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Steelers -3.5. O/U: 48

ABOUT THE BENGALS (10-4-1): Cincinnati still has an outside shot at earning the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye if Denver somehow loses at home to Oakland, but the biggest concern is the health of Green, who torched the Steelers for 11 catches for 224 yards and a TD earlier this month. Green reported improvement after injuring his arm early in Monday's victory but did not have a catch in that game and was unable to practice Wednesday. Rookie running back Jeremy Hill has rumbled for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the last two wins, but he was limited to 46 yards on eight carries by Pittsburgh. The Bengals picked off Peyton Manning four times Monday, but they were shredded for 543 yards by the Steelers in earlier matchup.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (10-5): Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has established career highs with 4,635 yards and 30 touchdowns (against only eight interceptions) and has the league's most consistent weapon in wide receiver Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL with 122 catches and 1,570 yards. Running back Le'Veon Bell provides outstanding balance to the offense, rushing for 1,341 yards and eight scores to go with 77 receptions and three more touchdowns. Bell has been limited to a combined 110 yards rushing over the last two games, but he piled up 235 total yards and three scores against the Bengals in Week 14. Pittsburgh is vulnerable to the pass, ranking 27th with an average of 255.2 yards allowed, and has only nine interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Hill is the first rookie with four games of at least 140 yards rushing since Curtis Martin (1995).

2. Brown has at least five receptions and 50 yards receiving in a league-record 31 straight games.

3. Dalton has thrown for five TDs and no interceptions in his last three versus the Steelers.

PREDICTION: Steelers 30, Bengals 20

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Cincinnati 10-4-1 W2 23.2 21.1 5-2-1 5-2 3-0 7-4-1 0-0-1 3-2 7-4
Pittsburgh 10-5 W3 27.3 23.4 5-2 5-3 8-3 2-2 0-0 3-2 8-3

Last Meeting

Cincinnati Pittsburgh
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
12/7/14 PIT 42 CIN 21 408 86 322 543 193 350

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
CIN A. Dalton 72.4 302 2 0
PIT B. Roethlisberger 64.1 350 3 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
CIN J. Hill 8 46 5.8 0
PIT L. Bell 26 185 7.1 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
CIN A. Green 11 224 20.4 1
PIT A. Brown 9 117 13.0 0
TDs Player TD
CIN A. Dalton 1
PIT L. Bell 3
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
CIN A. Dalton 63.5 3154 17 15
PIT B. Roethlisberger 67.4 4635 30 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
CIN J. Hill 199 1024 5.1 9
PIT L. Bell 282 1341 4.8 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
CIN A. Green 61 959 15.7 6
PIT A. Brown 122 1570 12.9 12
TDs Player TD
CIN J. Hill 9
PIT A. Brown 12

Quickchart Matchup

Cincinnati Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
348.7 yards
354.5 yards
4.4 yards/rush
4.4 yards/rush
6.9 yards/attempt
7.6 yards/attempt
Pittsburgh Off vs  Cincinnati Def
415.4 yards
360.2 yards
4.3 yards/rush
4.4 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
6.3 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Home over/under
OPEN
-105
-3.5
-110
47.5
Offshore Odds
CarbonSports
-110
-3.5
-110
48.5
Sportsbook
-110
-3.5
-110
48.5
5Dimes.eu
100
-3.5
-110
48
GTBets.eu
-105
-3.5
-110
48
Top Bet
-105
-3.5
-110
48
BetOnline.ag
-105
-3.5
-110
48
BetDSI
-105
-3.5
-110
48
AllYouBet.ag OFF OFF
BetDNA.com OFF OFF
Belmont
-110
-3.5
-110
48.5
BookMaker.eu
-105
-3.5
-110
48
Vegas Odds
Westgate
-110
-3.5
-110
48
Mirage
-110
-3.5
-110
48
Station
-110
-3.5
-110
48
Best home line Recent line moves

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Cincinnati Overall Pittsburgh
10-4 W/L 10-5
8-6-1 ATS 8-7-0
6-9-0 O/U 9-6-0
23.2 Pts For 27.3
21.1 Pts Against 23.4
Cincinnati A/H Pittsburgh
5-2 W/L 5-2
4-3-0 ATS 4-3-0
1-6-0 O/U 6-1-0
19.0 Pts For 32.9
17.4 Pts Against 25.9