Pittsburgh (7-5) at Cincinnati (10-2)
When: Sunday, December 13th 2015
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: CBS
The Cincinnati Bengals can wrap up the AFC North title Sunday when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cincinnati can also sweep the season series for the first time since 2009. The Bengals came back and defeated the Steelers 16-10 on November 1st in Pittsburgh. They also hold the tiebreaker over both New England (10-2) and Denver (10-2) for home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. Cincinnati suffered back-to-back losses in the middle of November, but have rallied to win two in a row in convincing fashion, outscoring the Rams and Browns 68-10. Quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown five touchdowns in the last two games and now has 25 for the season to only 5 interceptions. Wide receiver A.J. Green has caught fire with 189 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. He had 11 catches for 118 yards in the win over Pittsburgh earlier this season. Running back Jeremy Hill has recorded three touchdowns in his last three games and tight end Tyler Eifert, who missed last week with a pinched nerve in his back, leads the Bengals with 12 touchdown catches. Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson leads the NFL with 7 interceptions for the top-ranked defense in terms of points allowed (16.3).
Ben Roethlisberger threw a season-high three interceptions in the first meeting with the Bengals, but has thrown 10 touchdowns since, and the Steelers have won three of four. Roethlisberger tossed four touchdowns last Sunday night in the Steelers 45-10 rout of Indianapolis. Pittsburgh is tied with the Jets and Chiefs for the final Wild Card spot, but are on the outside looking in due to the tiebreakers. It won’t get any easier next week as they host Denver and finish off the season with two road games in Cleveland and Baltimore. Antonio Brown has been a monster all over the field with 41 catches for 592 yards and four touchdowns in the last four weeks. Brown also returned a punt for a touchdown last week against the Colts. Markus Wheaton has also been a frequent target of Roethlisberger’s recently, amassing 251 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the last two weeks. Pittsburgh veteran running back DeAngelo Williams has stepped in admirably following the season-ending injury to Le’Veon Bell, rushing for 387 yards and adding 189 more in receiving yards in the last four weeks.
Pittsburgh is hot right now on offense, but the Bengals defense should be able to slow them down a bit. Dalton is having a superb season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down like he has in the past. I’ll take the Bengals at home laying a small number.
Pick: Bengals -2.5