Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rematch Sets Playoff Stage

Bengals vs Steelers
Ja’Marr Chase snags this touchdown just before halftime in the Cincinnati Bengals 24-10 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. (Photo by Sam Greene/The Enquirer)

Bengals vs Steelers Week 12 Rematch

The Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers Week 12 rematch sets an AFC playoff stage this Sunday. The Bengals beat the Steelers 24-10 in Pittsburgh in Week 3. A Bengals win Sunday would mark the first time the team has swept the Steelers in the regular season since 2009. A loss by the Steelers could set their course to the bottom of the AFC North.

Steelers T.J. Watt might return against Bengals

Steelers star linebacker T.J. Watt did not play in his team’s Week 3 loss to the Bengals. He could be ready for the Week 12 rematch after injury derailed him in Week 10 in the Steelers tie against the winless Detroit Lions. A healthy Watt would be a difference-maker for the Steelers, who failed to sack Bengals QB Joe Burrow in the Week 3 loss.

Bengals go with ground game from Joe Mixon

The Bengals rode running back Joe Mixon for 123 yards on 30 carries in their Week 11 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Mixon dented the Steelers for 90 yards on 18 carries in the Week 3 Bengals win. Ground production from Mixon is key for the Bengals’ playoff push. It’s even more important against the Steelers to keep their pass rush off balance.

Steelers’ playoff life at stake against Bengals

Losses to both the Bengals in Week 3 and Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11 put the Steelers close to a do-or-die playoff position. The Steelers relied on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in both of those losses. He threw 58 times against the Bengals and 44 against the Chargers. The Bengals sacked him four times and linebacker Logan Wilson intercepted him twice in Week 3. But Roethlisberger should benefit greatly from the presence of leading receiver Diontae Johnson, who missed the first tilt with the Bengals.

Time to find out if the Bengals are for real

The Bengals still looked like AFC North contenders headed into their Week 9 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. After a 41-16 beating at home, the Bengals looked like more like playoff pretenders. Their playoff viability is in their hands against the Steelers this week and the Chargers next week. Both games are at home, which gives the Bengals a bona fide chance for redemption at Paul Brown Stadium.

Bengals vs. Steelers Prediction

The Bengals are still forming their identity. They could be great Sunday like they were in their Week 7 road romp over the Baltimore Ravens 41-17. Or they could get their identity handed to them like they did against the Browns.

The Steelers are far more recognizable. It took a fourth-quarter freakish frenzy against the Chargers to make a game of it. The Steelers look more like the cellar dwellers of the AFC North this year than the Bengals do.

So, let the playoff stage be set: Bengals 27, Steelers 23

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Robb Hoff

Journalist, Sportswriter & Author.

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