A loss today would put the Pittsburgh Steelers on the brink of elimination. Can head coach Mike Tomlin survive a third straight year without a playoff trip?
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The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14 of the NFL season.
The Bengals are 8-3-1, in sole possession of first place in the surprisingly competitive AFC North – each team is two games over .500 with only four games left, an NFL first – and enter an important stretch of games with both of their games against the Steelers, one against the Browns and one against the Broncos at home. QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green haven’t been the world beaters they were in 2013 but the defense has done its job, going on the road three straight times and holding the opposing team to 13 points or fewer each time. The Steelers, much like the Bengals, have a great QB-WR passing combination, but if there was ever a defense designed to keep it bogged down, it would be this one.
The Steelers are in a very precarious situation in the overall AFC playoff picture, with their two games against the Bengals as well as games the Falcons and Chiefs still to come. At 7-5 the Steelers are tied with five other teams for a single wild card playoff spot – three of which haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 at the earliest – so they will need this win in order essentially stay alive in an extremely competitive race down the stretch. With QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown proving to be one of the premier passing combinations in the league, that shouldn’t be an impossible task. RB Le’Veon Bell is also arguably the most effective RB in the NFL after DeMarco Murray. A fun fact to note: the last time the Steelers had a 1,000 yard rusher on the season like Bell is now, they went to the Superbowl.
Prediction: Steelers – Pittsburgh has the habit of playing down to weak competition, but playing up to strong competition. And when their backs are to the wall as they are now with possible playoff elimination coming with a loss, the Steelers will be able to overcome this most recent obstacle and pull out the win on the road.