The Cincinnati Bengals are the defending AFC North champions, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to dethrone them when the two rivals square off on Sunday Night Football.
The 10-4-1 Bengals got off to a hot 3-0 start this year that had everyone tabbing them as a Super Bowl contender. However, an 0-2-1 stretch that included 26- and 27-point losses to New England and Indianapolis had everyone doubting they would even make it to the playoffs.
All doubt was silenced last Monday when Cincinnati ambushed the Denver Broncos en route to a 37-28 win that earned the Bengals a fourth straight playoff berth.
As for Pittsburgh, they started the year 3-3 while blowing a fourth-quarter lead against Tampa Bay and suffering losses at Cleveland and Baltimore by a combined 41 points. They rebounded with seven wins in their next nine games to climb to within striking distance of the division crown.
One of those wins was a 41-20 blowout of the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium in Week 14. Last week, the Steelers clinched their first playoff appearance since 2011 with a 20-12 win over Kansas City.
So, what are the experts saying about this one?
Here is a look at some of the betting trends to know for this game via Odds Shark, which has Pitt as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 48.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7-2 both SU and ATS in their last nine games against the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Pittsburgh is 8-7 ATS this year, while Cincinnati is 8-6-1 ATS.
- Cincinnati is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games.
- Cincinnati is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Cincinnati's last 7 games.
- Cincinnati is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road.
- Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Pittsburgh's last 9 games.
- Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home.
Here are some of the notable statistics from ESPN Stats & Information for this game:
- Steelers: allowing a league-high 56.0 Comp pct on throws at least 15 yards downfield this season. Only the Giants and Redskins (15 each) have allowed more Pass TD on those throws than the Steelers (12)
- Andy Dalton: 8 Int on play-action passes, the most in the NFL this season. In his first 3 NFL seasons, Dalton had 7 interceptions on 299 play-action attempts combined
- A.J. Green needs 41 Rec yds for his 4th straight 1,000-yard receiving season. Green needs 90 Rec yds to pass Jerry Rice for 3rd-most by a player in their 1st 4 seasons.
- Ben Roethlisberger: making his 158th career start, which will tie Terry Bradshaw for the most in team history. Roethlisberger is 2 wins shy of Bradshaw's team record of 107.
The experts are mostly siding with Pittsburgh this week. Six members of CBS Sports' eight-man panel think Mike Tomlin's crew will take the division. It's a clean sweep however at ESPN, as all 13 of their 'experts' picked the Steelers to win.
At SB Nation, all but two of their experts are leaning toward the Steelers. The Pro Football Focus crew is also all-in on the Steelers with all eight experts going with Pitt.