The night-cap of the first day of Wildcard Weekend features an AFC North match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals captured the division with a 12-4 record this year. They started the season at 8-0, but went 4-4 over the second half of the year. The Steelers, meanwhile, squeaked into the playoffs by virtue of the Jets losing in Week 17 and Pittsburgh having an easy game against Cleveland.
These teams split the season series. Earlier in the year, the Bengals won 16-10 in Pittsburgh. Less than a month ago, though, the Steelers defeated the Bengals 33-20 in Cincinnati, and that came against QB A.J. McCarron. McCarron has done a fair job since taking over for the injured Andy Dalton, and things will get even more interesting if McCarron delivers a playoff win when Dalton never could. The Steelers are down RB DeAngelo Williams, which makes them a completely one-dimensional team because they can't run with anybody else. The Bengals have a better overall team, but I see their negative playoff luck continuing as Ben Roethlisberger prevails despite having to throw the ball an insane amount of times. Steelers 24, Bengals 20
Game: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Date/Time: Saturday, January 9, 2015 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Television: CBS - Jim Nantz & Phil Simms
NFL Odds: Steelers by 3, Over/Under = 45.5