Bengals vs. Steelers: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Spread Info, Game Time and More

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Bengals vs. Steelers: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Spread Info, Game Time and More
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With two games to go there is likely one playoff spot remaining in the AFC, and this game between the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) will go a long way in determining who snags it.

Five of the six AFC playoff spots are accounted for—the Indianapolis Colts only have to win one of their remaining games or have the Steelers lose to clinch—and the final one will come down to a battle between these two NFC North rivals.

The Steelers and Bengals control their own playoff destinies. If either one of the teams wins out, it will make the postseason. Actually, each team still has an opportunity to win the division if the Ravens stumble.

Everything is on the line in this clash between defense-first, yet potent teams.

 

Who takes this crucial Week 16 matchup?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.

When: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Live Stream: NFL.com

Betting Line: Pittsburgh (-4), via Football Locks

 

Pittsburgh Injury Report as of Dec. 18, via NFL.com

 

Mike Adams

T

Ankle

Did Not Participate In Practice

Out

Stevenson Sylvester

LB

Illness

Did Not Participate In Practice

Probable

Troy Polamalu

S

Not Injury Related

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Greg Warren

LS

Illness

Did Not Participate In Practice

Probable

Emmanuel Sanders

WR

Shoulder

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Willie Colon

T

Knee

Did Not Participate In Practice

Out

James Harrison

LB

Illness

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Antonio Brown

WR

Illness

Did Not Participate In Practice

Probable

LaMarr Woodley

LB

Ankle

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Cortez Allen

CB

Groin

Did Not Participate In Practice

Doubtful

Keenan Lewis

CB

Hip

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Ivan Taylor

CB

Ankle

Did Not Participate In Practice

Out

Plaxico Burress

WR

Not Injury Related

Limited Participation in Practice

Probable

 

Cincinnati Injury Report as of Dec. 18, via NFL.com

 

Michael Johnson

DE

Toe

Did Not Participate In Practice

Questionable

Vontaze Burfict

LB

Shoulder

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Clint Boling

G

Illness

Did Not Participate In Practice

Probable

Dre Kirkpatrick

CB

Head

Did Not Participate In Practice

Out

Rey Maualuga

LB

Shoulder

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Cedric Peerman

RB

Ankle

Did Not Participate In Practice

Doubtful

Mike Nugent

K

right Calf

Did Not Participate In Practice

Doubtful

Carlos Dunlap

DE

Calf

Full Participation in Practice

Probable

Dan Skuta

LB

Back

Did Not Participate In Practice

Probable

 

What's at Stake

Al Bello/Getty Images

A playoff spot.

Plain and simple that's what this game is about.  

The Steelers have lost four of their last five contests, floundering back to the .500 mark. Now, they are very close to falling out of the playoff picture.  

Cincinnati, on the other hand, is surging. The Bengals have captured five of their last six games, with their only loss in that stretch coming by a mere point.

This game seems to be between two teams headed in completely different directions. 

Pittsburgh appears to be aging quickly while the young Bengals are hitting their stride. Still, it would be silly to count out a group of champions like the Steelers.

It should be an incredible game between two squads desperate to make their mark.

 

Fantasy Plays

Pittsburgh QB: Ben Roethlisberger 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Who else on the Pittsburgh roster?

Roethlisberger is the team's spark. He makes everything go.

The things he does in the pocket are incredible, and he makes plays other quarterbacks just shake their heads at. 

Plus, the Steelers throw with him under center.

A lot.

Roethlisberger has averaged 36 attempts, 264 yards and two touchdowns a game this season in 11 contests. Not spectacular numbers, but he'll be a steady fantasy play during the final weeks of the season. After all, it’s not like the Steelers will take the ball out of his hands.

 

Cincinnati WR: A.J. Green

John Grieshop/Getty Images

Besides Calvin Johnson, Cincinnati's A.J. Green has quietly been the best receiver in football.

The second-year wideout from Georgia has established an almost eerie connection with fellow 2010 draft pick Andy Dalton.

Green has reeled in 1,208 yards and 11 touchdowns thus far in 2012, and has scored the third-most fantasy points by a receiver this season in standard ESPN leagues.

He's been a beast.

Often times Dalton tosses the ball up and expects Green to go and grab it. He delivers most of the time.

Against an injury-stricken Steelers' secondary, Green should cause havoc.

 

What They're Saying

The Steelers fell in overtime to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15—a defeat that adds to Pittsburgh's laundry list of close losses. It seems as if Roethlisberger isn't too happy with offensive coordinator Todd Haley's play-calling down the stretch, according to Pro Football Talk.  

Tight end Heath Miller didn't have a ball thrown his way in the second half, and Roethlisberger was frank as to why it didn't happen:

“I just don’t think we called the right plays to get him the ball.”

It seems a real feud could be brewing in Pittsburgh, but Haley and Roethlisberger must get on the same page in order to defeat a stingy Bengals defense.

 

Key Matchup: Pittsburgh's offensive line vs. Cincinnati's defensive line

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have had a bit of O-line trouble. Well, actually, maybe a lot.

Roethlisberger is hit more often than some punching bags, and Pittsburgh's rushing attack is 26th in the NFL.

Cincinnati hasn't had that issue on the other side of the line. Its front four has been brilliant.

The Bengals are eighth in the NFL with 38 sacks and have held opponents to 120 yards per game on the ground.

Their defensive line is a feisty unit with no real superstar, but the four down linemen work effectively as a group. 

Pittsburgh's O-line must hold its blocks and get a semblance of a push on passing downs in order to give Roethlisberger and the offense a chance.

 

Prediction

The Bengals are traveling to Heinz Field in December with a playoff spot on the line, a situation in which the Steelers rarely lose.

Don't expect that to change on Sunday.

The Steelers must win this game, so you should expect their experience and desperation to be too much for the Bengals. They’re up-and-coming, but in this game the Steelers will continue their reign.

 

Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17

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