The Pittsburg Steelers will travel to Ohio to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Dec. 7. Fans can watch online the Steelers vs. Bengals via live stream - free for subscribers - below.
While the Bengals are focused on getting a second straight division AFC North title, the Steelers could be significantly impacted by the results of Sunday's game. That's because Pittsburgh's season seems like a tale of two different teams, according to Jason Hirschhorn of SB Nation.
"Early in the year (and again over the past three weeks), the Steelers have played like an old, broken-down squad that will wilt under the lights," Hirschhorn wrote. "However, for a three-week stretch in late October to early November, Pittsburgh knocked around opponents, dishing out 124 points while yielding only 80. The question moving forward is which is the Steelers' true identity."
Hirschhorn adds that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his hand during last week's game against the New Orleans Saints last week. The star athlete has denied that his injury was a broken wrist.
According to the Associated Press, Roethlisberger has four touchdowns, five picks and a 79.3 rating in Pittsburg's past three games. However, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has managed to find flaws in his gameplay.
"He hasn't been as accurate as he has been," Tomlin said. "Some of it is due to some pressure created in the pocket. Some of it is due to game circumstance. Some we lacked cohesion in some instances. None of those things happen in a vacuum when you're talking about quarterback play. It's usually unit-play oriented. He can play better, we all can play better, and we're looking forward to doing it this week."
As for the Bengals, the Associated Press notes that Cincinnati bounced back from a 24-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns back on Nov. 6 to win three straight games on the road. Although they lost to Tampa Bay last week 14-13, Bengals safety George Iloka looked on the bright side.
"We've just got a little more breathing room," Iloka said. "It always helps when we win a game and other teams lose. Guys were definitely happy about that."
The Associated Press reports that Iloka is part of the Bengals' best unit, a secondary that allows 6.31 yards per passed and has surrendered 11 passing touchdowns, which is low by NFL standards. Even the Steelers took notice of the Bengals' secondary unit performance.
"Their secondary is playing as good as any secondary in the NFL right now," Roethlisberger said. "... (They have) a lot of different looks, double-barrel stuff (and) things that we've seen in the past. But we'll always anticipate something new."
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis thinks that his team's path to victory may involve taking away big plays with a good defense.
"It takes 11 guys combined in those situations all the time, no matter what," Lewis said. "It's whatever the coverage is, and making sure we're playing the coverage to the best of our abilities, and everybody in the right spots. The rush has to work with the coverage, and the coverage has to work with the rush."
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plans to put the Bengals' game strategy to the test, hoping for a Pittsburgh win.
"We've got to take care of business," Bell said. "We can't look forward to four or five weeks ahead."