The Pittsburgh Steelers now need some help to make the playoffs thanks in part to their Week 16 road loss to the New Orleans Saints. In addition to hoping that the Cleveland Browns can upset the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, or that the game between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts ends in a tie, the Steelers must also beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home in their regular season finale. The Steelers opened as 17-point home favorites over the Bengals and are currently 14-point consensus favorites at the time of this Monday evening post.
The Bengals, who lost in Week 16 on the road to the Browns 26-18, enter Week 17 with a 6-9 record and in last place of the AFC North Division. After opening the 2018 regular season with a 4-1 record, the Bengals have since gone 2-8 with their two wins coming against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.
In their Sunday loss to the Browns, Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel, who has been the team’s starter since Andy Dalton was lost for the season to a thumb injury in Week 12, completed 13 of his 19 total pass attempts for 133 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. His two scoring tosses went to wide receiver John Ross and tight end C.J. Uzomah in the fourth quarter. Uzomah led the Bengals in receiving against the Browns with 4 catches for 49 yards. Running back Joe Mixon led the team in rushing with 68 yards on 17 carries.
For the season, Mixon leads the Bengals with 1,063 yards and 8 touchdowns on 224 carries. He’s also caught 42 passes for another 294 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who sat out the Bengals game against the Browns with a knee injury, leads the team in receiving with 76 catches for 1,028 yards and 7 touchdowns. It’s currently unknown if he’ll be able to play Sunday against the Steelers.
The Bengals defense enters Week 17 with rookie safety Jessie Bates as the team’s leading tackler. Bates has 108 total tackles to go along with 3 interceptions and 5 passes defensed. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins leads his team in sacks with 10. Fellow safety Shawn Williams leads the Bengals in interceptions with 4.
The Steelers last played the Bengals in Week 6 in Cincinnati and they beat them 28-21 thanks to late touchdown from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown from 31-yards out with just 10 seconds left in the game. Roethlisberger completed 32 of his 46 total pass attempts for 369 yards and that one touchdown pass in the win while running back James Conner rushed for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns on his 19 total carries. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 7 passes for 111 yards in that game while Brown finished with 5 receptions for 105 yards and the late go-ahead touchdown.
The Steelers have now won their last 7 games against the Bengals and 10 of their last 11. The last meeting between the two teams in Pittsburgh ended in a 29-14 Steelers win. The Bengals last win in Pittsburgh came during the 2015 regular season.
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