Steelers dealing with COVID-19 as Burrow, Bengals visit

·3 min read

CINCINNATI (2-5-1) at PITTSBURGH (8-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Steelers by 10

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Bengals 6-2; Steelers 6-2

SERIES RECORD - Steelers lead 66-35

LAST MEETING - Steelers beat Bengals 16-10 on Nov. 24, 2019 in Cincinnati

LAST WEEK - Bengals had bye, beat Titans 31-20 on Nov. 1; Steelers beat Cowboys 24-19.

AP PRO32 RANKING - Bengals No. 25, Steelers No. 1

BENGALS OFFENSE - OVERALL (T17), RUSH (23), PASS (10).

BENGALS Defence - OVERALL (26), RUSH (29), PASS (22).

STEELERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (25), RUSH (19), PASS (22).

STEELERS Defence - OVERALL (6), RUSH (9), PASS (5).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — This is the 100th regular-season meeting between the longtime AFC divisional rivals. The Steelers have dominated the series in recent years, winning 10 straight meetings and 13 out of 14 (including playoffs). ... At 8-0, Pittsburgh is the NFL's last unbeaten team and is looking to become the first club to start 9-0 since the 2015 Carolina Panthers won their first 14 games. ... The Bengals were off last week but drilled AFC South-leading Tennessee 31-20 on Nov. 1, the team's most complete performance during second-year head coach Zac Taylor's tenure. ... Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow's 221 pass completions are the most ever by a rookie over the first half of a season. His 330 pass attempts are second most and 2,272 passing yards are fifth most by a rookie over the same span. ... When the Bengals protect Burrow, they win. He's been sacked just once in Cincinnati's two victories compared to 27 sacks in the team's other six games. The Bengals will have their hands full against the best pass-rushing team in the NFL. The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks (32) and have at least one sack in 65 straight games, the second-longest streak in NFL history. ... Burrow could use help from the running game, but Joe Mixon’s status is uncertain. Mixon injured his foot in the second half of a loss to Indianapolis on Oct. 18 and has missed each of the last two games. Taylor said he’s optimistic Mixon and left tackle Jonah Willliams (stinger) will be available. ... Pittsburgh has made life rough for rookie quarterbacks: 24-4 against them since 2004. ... The Steelers could be without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who spent the week on the COVID-19 list due to contact tracing after tight end Vance McDonald tested positive following last week's win over Dallas. Head coach Mike Tomlin hasn't committed to which backup — Mason Rudolph or Josh Dobbs — would start if Roethlisberger is unavailable. ... Rudolph went 5-3 as a starter in 2019 after Roethlisberger went down with a right-elbow injury in Week 2. Dobbs made five appearances for the Steelers in 2018 but has not started a game. .... The last time Roethlisberger played without practicing with the team was in 2015, when he came off the bench against Cleveland to lead the Steelers to a 30-9 win after Landry Jones got hurt in the first quarter. ... The Steelers expect LB Avery Williamson to be available. Pittsburgh acquired Williamson from the Jets on Nov. 2 and Williamson could get extended playing time if Vince Williams (COVID-19 list) is not cleared. ... Pittsburgh is looking to clean up special teams after Dallas blocked a kick and popped a long punt return. ... Fantasy tip: Steelers RB James Conner has been bottled up recently but could be due for a breakout against a Cincinnati defence that allowed 218 yards on the ground to Tennessee.

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