Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5)* at Cincinnati Bengals
How can anybody place any faith in either of these two teams? The Pittsburgh Steelers are the embodiment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, while the Bengals refuse to run away with the AFC North in convincing fashion. Cincinnati is not only lucky to have survived in Tampa Bay, but also fortunate that all three of its divisional pursuers lost their Week 13 games.
Therein lies the problem for the Bengals.
Cincinnati has finally created some separation between itself and the rest of the AFC North and, with four games remaining for each team, could see every other division opponent fall off the map in the coming weeks. It would potentially start on Sunday against the Steelers.
If Pittsburgh loses, its then 7-6 record would place the team over two games behind what would become the 9-5-1 Bengals. The Steelers would need to win out to catch the Bengals while having Cincinnati lose each of its remaining three games – the third of which would be Week 17 in Pittsburgh. For all intents and purposes, the Steelers’ chance for a division title would end with a loss on Sunday. For a team that hasn’t lost back-to-back games all season playing in a division that has seen such intense competition with parity throughout, it seems almost inconceivable that AFC North’s second seed would be out of the race with three games remaining.
The Steelers win by a field goal in Cincinnati, beating the spread.