The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati to face the AFC North-leading Bengals in what's become one of the NFL's better rivalries. In their past 10 matchups Cincinnati has four wins, two division titles and four playoff berths over that span. The Steelers have six wins, one division title and two playoff berths over that span.
Needless to say, this has been a very competitive rivalry between two teams that either make it to the playoffs, or are in contention entering the final weeks of the regular season. That's the case once more, as the 8-3-1 Bengals lead the AFC North by 1.5 games, while the 7-5 Steelers are tied with six other teams for the final wild-card spot in the AFC.
So, what do the experts have to say about this matchup?
ESPN's experts could not come to a consensus; seven favored Cincy while six went with Pitt. Beat writers Scott Brown and Coley Harvey did an in-depth breakdown, noting how the Steelers' surging rushing attack will go against a suddenly-stout Bengals run defense.
71.3: In their past three games, the Bengals have allowed teams to rush for just an average of 71.3 yards. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 204 in Pittsburgh's last road game two weeks ago at Tennessee.
Bell has been an absolute stud and he is the only player in the NFL with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards.
The CBS crew favored the Bengals with six experts picking Cincinnati and the other two going with the Steelers. Senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco offered up this prediction:
Bengals (-3) over Steelers: The Steelers were horrible last week in losing to the Saints. Their season is on the line here in this one. They will be feisty. But I think the Bengals defense has really come on strong the past three games, and that shows up. Cincinnati wins by a touchdown.
OddsShark has the Bengals by -3 with an over/under of 47 with some noteworthy trends for both teams against the spread:
The Bengals are 5-1 SU in their last six, but a middling 3-2-1 ATS. Cincy has given up just 12 points per game in their last three, with the point total finishing UNDER in each of their last four games, 8-4 on the season.
The 7-5 Steelers will be looking to pick up a win on Sunday to remain in contention in both the AFC North divisional race and the AFC Wild Card hunt. Pittsburgh is 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS in its last three games, and has struggled to produce offense away from Heinz Field, averaging just 16.75 points per game in their last four on the road, but are 11-2 SU in their last 13 visits to Cincy.
The Steelers have been outscored 57-16 in divisional road games so far in 2014, a cautionary stat as they head to Cincy.
The SB Nation experts are conflicted on this matchup. Ryan Van Bibber, Stephen White, PFT Commenter and the OddsShark Computer pick the Steelers, and Joel Thorman, David Fucillo, Danny Kelly and Matt Ufford pick the Bengals.