The 5-8 Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football tonight without much of a chance to make the NFL playoffs, a position this working man’s team isn’t used to digesting. The Bengals, on the other hand, are 9-4 and on their way to sewing up their second AFC North title in as many years. With two weeks left in the NFL season, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has made no bones about his desire to have the Steelers win out, and tonight’s Sunday Night Football game at Heinz Stadium would be a great way to set the tone. The Steelers vs Bengals game won’t likely be an offensive showcase, but instead be more of a defensive brawl. It’s also bound to be a surprisingly tight game worth watching on NBC, or you can watch Sunday Night Football Bengals vs Steelers game online free using the links below.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has improved from his rough patch earlier in the season, but he’s traditionally not fared well against the Bengals. In these teams’ past 15 meetings, Roethlisberger has passed for no more than 280 yards, and he’s only one multiple-touchdown game against Cincinnati since 2008. That yardage figure is still above the Steelers’ average this season of 252.2 yards passing per game, but keep in mind that Big Ben has had an off year in spite of throwing for 3,724 yards and 24 TDs. The Bengals, meanwhile, have gone 23 straight games against the Steelers without hitting the 300-yard mark in the air, although that could be the one changed trend tonight as the Pittsburgh defense is a shadow of its former self.
Steelers defense aside, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is another big reason Cincinnati could change its lot through the air in tonight’s Sunday Night Football game. Through 13 games, the young quarterback has shown flashes of brilliance, having gone 290-468 for 3,419 yards and 25 touchdowns through the air. The Steelers and Bengals are neck and neck in term of passing defense, with both squads allowing 222.4 passing yards per game. But with the Steelers giving up 22 more yards on the ground, that will open a seam for Cincy’s rookie running back phenom Giovani Bernard. And with the Steelers needing to pay attention to the Bengals’ newfound ground game, Dalton could get a bit more breathing room.
Tonight’s Bengals vs Steelers game is the second time these teams met, as Cincinnati took advantage of Pittsburgh’s early-season woes on its way to a Week 2 win. In that game the Steelers were pushing their pass game because their ground game hadn’t taken off and their offensive line was decimated by injuries. The Steelers will change some of that in tonight’s Sunday Night Football game, as running back Le’Veon Bell (who didn’t play in Week 2) will be a threat. Not a big one, mind you, as he’s averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, but he’s a back who’ll command attention and can give Roethlisberger some extra blocking against the Bengals blitz.
Roethlisberger has played every down this season, a fact that’s remarkable because he’s constantly had to work harder behind Pittsburgh’s depleted offensive line and has had to rely on blocks from non-lineman like Bell. At home tonight on Sunday Night Football, Big Ben is bound to give an extra effort and help set the tone Coach Tomlin wants to instill as the Steelers fade into the off-season. That effort, coupled with a primetime defensive showcase, could make tonight’s Bengals vs Steelers game one of the best games in this rivalry in spite of the teams’ records. No wonder almost one-third of the ESPN team is predicting a Steelers win.
You can watch Sunday Night Football Bengals vs Steelers game online free on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket with MAX Package. The package requires a subscription, but anyone who has one can watch the live streaming version free of any game, including tonight’s 8:30 EST / 5:30 PST Sunday Night Football division rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.