A Bengals victory would put the Steelers four games back in the loss column in the AFC North, and while the Browns and Ravens are foundering, that margin would seem to foil any chance Pittsburgh has of repeating as division champion.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects Ben Roethlisberger back under center against Cincinnati. "They have a lot of weapons and they've been making plays all year". He knows how important this head-to-head game is, especially with the Steelers at 4-3 and the Bengals at 6-0 in the current National Football League standings.
Pittsburgh has already solved the most minor issues on the offensive side of the ball by having Cody Wallace take over for an injured Maurkice Pouncey and tight ends Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth are ready to go. The Packers' offense has seen a dip in productivity over the past three games, struggling with fewer play counts and more three-and-outs.
CIN: 4 in scoring, 3 in offense (12 rushing, 5 passing); 9 in scoring defense, 22 in defense (16 rushing, 21 passing), T-10 in turnover margin at plus-three.
Wins for Bengals QB Andy Dalton tied for fifth most with John Elway among Super Bowl QBs in their first five seasons. He was limited Wednesday in his first practice since getting hurt but is on track to suit up when Dallas hosts the Seahawks after his workload increased each day this week. The teams will meet each other again on December 13 at Paul Brown Stadium. Plain and simple, what does your gut tell you about this game, and how does it play out?
"He doesn't get as much credit as he deserves", Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake said.
"I think it was more just a pain and inflammation setback", Roethlisberger said.
Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst) led by "triple cast", Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7) on the 41-station Bengals radio network.
The way the Kansas City Chiefs shuffled different groups along the offensive line in training camp inevitably drew comparisons to the game of musical chairs.
"You have to embrace it", Kirkpatrick said.
After missing the past month with an ankle injury, all signs point to the Packers wide receiver returning Sunday against the Broncos after the team's bye week. "He took advantage of an opportunity and did a nice job with it". Although it's the first time he's sat out in two years, he has a history of not performing well in his first game back after an injury. This is the best Cincinnati team that Andy Dalton has been a part of, but the Bengals still haven't beaten a team that's above. 500. It's not exactly a must win for the Colts, but it's crucial if they want to stay in the race and keep their playoff hopes alive. "There's a lot in front of us".