Pittsburgh was able to keep their head above water in Roethlisberger’s absence, going 2-2 with Michael Vick and Landry Jones under center, but Sunday’s contest looms as a must-win if the Steelers want to have any shot at winning the division.
Pittsburgh (4-3) vs. Cincinnati (6-0)
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015
1 p.m. on CBS
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
What’s on the Line: It is the first matchup between the Steelers and the first-place Bengals. Cincinnati is coming off a bye, and Pittsburgh is coming off a tough loss to the Chiefs. A win against the Bengals is crucial for Pittsburgh’s division standings. While a loss would not be a devastating blow to the Steelers playoff chances, it would virtually end any chance they have of winning the AFC North.
Key Player: Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben is making his much anticipated return for the Steelers after being out since the third quarter of the team’s Week 3 win at St. Louis. The question will be whether or not he can continue the success he was having prior to his injury. The Bengals offense has been spectacular — and balanced — this season. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill power the running game, while Andy Dalton is off to the best start of his career. He has found a comfort-level with tight end Tyler Eifert and has game-breakers in A.J. Green and marvin Jones, while Mohamed Sanu still adds a deep threat that secondaries are forced to acknowledge. Roethlisberger must be the best quarterback on the field on Sunday, because the Bengals will surely get their points against the Steelers defense.
Worth Noting: The Steelers have swept the season series three times since 2010, and have won by 10 or more points in the last three meetings.
Injury Report: Roethlisberger (MCL) was a full participant in practice in Wednesday and told NFL Media that he’ll practice fully this week: “If there’s a restriction, I shouldn’t be out there.” Defensive end Stephen Tuitt (knee) and cornerback William Gay (shoulder) did not practice.