The 6-9 Cincinnati Bengals will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 8-6-1 in this week 17 Sunday afternoon matchup. Both teams are coming off losses last week but the Steelers still have an outside chance to make the playoffs while the Bengals have been eliminated. The Steelers were defeated in heartbreaking fashion 31-28 on the road to the New Orleans Saints. They were leading 28-24 entering the fourth but turned the ball over on their last 3 drives paving the way for New Orleans to score the winning touchdown. Even with a win this week they would need a lot of help to get into the playoffs. The Bengals were easily defeated 26-18 on the road by the Cleveland Browns. They started the year off 4-1 but have gone just 2-8 in their last 10 games.
Ben Roethlisberger finished with a passer rating of 108.8 and it still wasn’t enough to beat the Saints. He completed 33 of 50 passes for 380 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. His favorite target was Antonio Brown who had 14 catches for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. Roethlisberger has had an up and down year as he leads the league in passing yards with 4,842 while also being tied for first in interceptions thrown with 15. The only ran the ball 18 times for 65 yards with Jaylen Samuels leading the team with 53 yards. The team has missed starting running back James Conner the last 3 games who has an ankle injury. He has practiced this week and has not been ruled out to return. Defensively, they had 1 interception and sacked Drew Brees twice. They did a good job against the run allowing the Saints to gain 57 yards on 19 carries, which is an average of 3 yards per rush. Four different Saints receivers caught passes that gained at least 23 yards.
The Bengals had only 235 yards of offense against the Browns despite Jeff Driskell having a passer rating of 123.4. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 133 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. His favorite target was C.J. Uzomah who had 4 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. They had 102 rushing yards on 23 carries with Joe Mixon leading the team with 68 yards. Defensively, they allowed the Browns to gain 493 yards of offense and did not force any turnovers nor were they able to sack Baker Mayfield. For the year, the Bengals have allowed their opponents to average 29.3 points and 429.3 yards per game.
The Steelers will have home field advantage and are favored by 14.5 points. They have gone 8-6-1 against the spread including 4-3 at home. This is a must win game for them and if Conner is able to return, they will be getting another powerful offensive weapon. Cincinnati has gone 8-7 against the spread including 5-2 on the road. Although they have been eliminated, they would love to play spoilers to their AFC North Rivals.
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