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Steelers Travel To Cincinnati for AFC North Matchup

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The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals, in what will be their final road game of the 2016 regular season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Cincinnati, where they hope to finish with a 5-3 record on the road for the regular season. This AFC North matchup will be what it always is, a grudge match. And with a loss, the Bengals will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, so expect them to bring everything plus the kitchen sink.

Last week, Ben Roethlisberger had one of his statistically worst games of his career, yet the Steelers still won thanks to Le’Veon Bell‘s historic day. Roethlisberger has had a season full of twists and turns, and it has been hard to figure out why he has played so bad on the road in comparison to at home. In the seven road games he has started this season, Roethlisberger has not even reached his amount of passing yards or touchdowns compared to his five home games.

 GamesCompAttComp %YardsTDINT

If Roethlisberger can tap into his high level of play that he knows he is capable of, the Steelers will be tough to stop on Sunday. Especially if Le’Veon Bell continues his consecutive streak of 100+ yard rushing games, which currently sits at four. Bell has posted at least 100 scrimmage yards in every game he has played this season, and he hopes to continue that play against one of his most hated opponents. The Steelers will have to get him the ball early and often in order to get on the scoreboard first. In games where the Steelers score first this season, they are 6-1 with their only loss coming to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Steelers have had great fortune this season with their defensive rookies as far as health goes. In recent past, they have seen players such as Bud Dupree, Shamarko Thomas, and Stephon Tuitt all get injured in their first seasons. But Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Javon Hargrave have been on the field in every game this season, and their presence has made a significant difference. Artie Burns is currently first in interceptions among all rookies, Sean Davis is tenth among rookies in tackles, and Javon Hargrave has started in all but three games this season.

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The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a win over the Cleveland Browns. And while that may not seem like anything spectacular, it was a huge confidence boost for them as they are playing without their star receiver AJ Green. Green currently is doubtful for Sunday’s matchup, but a tough guy like him can still be ready to go by then. With the Bengals possibly having to run the ball a lot more on Sunday, Steelers‘ defensive coordinator Keith Butler commented on his young defenses improvement in that aspect of the game.

I think our guys understand the significance of stopping the run and trying to force people to be one-dimensional. We’ve gotten better at stopping the run. The thing for us, we have to make sure we do a little bit of a better job tackling. And try to hold these guys down a little bit more. That’s always been the formula to winning around here, stop the run first and then try to put pressure on the quarterback.”

The Steelers hope to travel back home with a victory, and end their season with a road record above .500 for the third consecutive season. If the Steelers wish to remain in sole possession of first place in the AFC North, they will need Ben Roethlisberger to limit his turnovers, Le’Veon Bell to continue to let the juice get loose, and the defensive rookies will have to continue to step up in key situations. The last time these teams met in Cincinnati, the Steelers ended the Bengals season in heartbreaking fashion with high drama. We can all only hope it happens the same way.

Statistics and quotes referenced via Pittsburgh Steelers media guide.