National Football League
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, December 30, 2018
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Steelers put themselves in a position to have to root for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, though it won't matter at all if they can't take care of their own business. The Steelers will try to earn a win and keep their playoff hopes alive when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Pittsburgh needs a win and for the Browns to top the Baltimore Ravens on in Week 17 in order to win the AFC North and advance to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season, though a win and a tie between Tennessee and Indianapolis would get it into the postseason as well as a wild-card team. "With the way (the season) has gone, it's a little deflating. But at the end of the day, it's not over. We realize that, too," Steelers guard David DeCastro told reporters. "You just have to know there's a chance. As bad as you feel now, you'll feel worse if Baltimore loses and you lose, too." The Bengals dropped six of their last seven games to fall out of the playoff race and clinch their first last-place finish in the AFC North since 2010 but intend to close the season strong. "Any time we play the Steelers or any division opponent, it's a big game for us, and we understand that," Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Driskel told reporters. "We also understand that it's our last opportunity this year, so we want to go out on a high note."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -14.5. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE BENGALS (6-9): Cincinnati started out 4-1 before injuries sapped the offense of its effectiveness, leading to losses in eight of the last 10 contests and a season outside the playoffs. "It sucks. It pisses me off," tight end C.J. Uzomah told reporters. "When you go through OTAs, minicamp, camp, the ins and outs and the grind of a season, of a year, to not be in a position to get in the playoffs is one thing, but to be last in the division is another. I have a bad taste in my mouth and hopefully next week I can at least (get rid) of a little bit of that." The bright spot on offense is running back Joe Mixon, who leads the AFC in rushing with 1,063 yards.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (8-6-1): Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is leading the NFL in passing at 4,842 yards and has two solid weapons in receivers Antonio Brown (1,297 yards) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (1,389). The two became the fifth duo in NFL history to each amass over 100 catches and 1,200 yards in last week's 31-28 loss at New Orleans. "We're not a bad team. We're a really good team," guard Ramon Foster told reporters. "We've got a lot of offensive tools. We have a Hall of Fame quarterback who's pretty damn good, also. To say we're nervous about being down, it's never that. We just need time and opportunity. You've got to come to work and control what we can control. It's not a matter of feeling sorry. It's a matter of, we kind of caused it and we've got to live with it."


1. Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict is in the concussion protocol after suffering the seventh known concussion of his career last week.

2. Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) sat out the last three games but was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and could return this week.

3. Pittsburgh is riding a seven-game winning streak in the series - including playoffs - and earned a 28-21 win at Cincinnati on Oct. 14.

PREDICTION: Steelers 31, Bengals 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Cincinnati 6-9 L1 23.7 29.3 4-4 2-5 1-4 0-0 - - 4-7
Pittsburgh 8-6-1 L1 27.5 23.1 4-3 4-3-1 6-5-1 0-0 - - 5-5-1
Last Meeting
Cincinnati Pittsburgh
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/14/18 PIT 28 CIN 21 275 62 213 481 112 369
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati A. Dalton 61.9 229 2 0
Pittsburgh B. Roethlisberger 69.6 369 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati J. Mixon 11 64 5.8 1
Pittsburgh J. Conner 19 111 5.8 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati A. Green 7 85 12.1 0
Pittsburgh J. Smith-Schuster 7 111 15.9 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati T. Boyd 2
Pittsburgh J. Conner 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati A. Dalton 61.9 2566 21 11
Pittsburgh B. Roethlisberger 66.8 4842 33 15
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati J. Mixon 224 1063 4.7 8
Pittsburgh J. Conner 201 909 4.5 12
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati T. Boyd 76 1028 13.5 7
Pittsburgh J. Smith-Schuster 106 1389 13.1 6
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati J. Mixon 9
Pittsburgh A. Brown 15