The last game of the 2014 NFL regular season and it promises to be a good one as the Bengals roll into Steel City to take on Pittsburgh for the Sunday Night Football season finale. The AFC North has been a back-and-forth affair all season long so it is fitting that the divisional winner would come down to the final play. Both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have had their bouts with consistency in 2014, but all they need to do is turn in a solid sixty minutes, and they’ll have a much easier road to post-season success. While both the Bengals and Steelers already have their playoff spots secured, you can bet both squads will be fighting hard for the rights to crown this competitive division. It’s likely that the loser of this contest has to travel to Indianapolis next week for the opening round of the playoffs – a tall order for any team regardless the situation. The way Luck and the Colts have moved the ball this year, you can bet both teams will be going hard tonight. It’s the last regular season write-up of 2014, and it’s been a blast yet again. Let’s end the year on a winning note, so read on below for the SNF game breakdown and the last official NFL wager of the calendar year.
Bengals at Steelers Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 (-105)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (-115)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
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Bengals at Steelers Pick:
It’s been a long road in the always competitive AFC North, but here we are. The winner takes the division and holds a much easier route to playoff success, while the loser will be forced to travel next week to what should be a rocking venue in Indianapolis against Andrew Luck and his high-flying Colts. There’s a lot on the line tonight and you can bet both squads will be eager to secure the victory against their bitter rival.
Pittsburgh has seemed to be mired in mediocrity the past couple of seasons, a far cry from the excellence that usually surrounds one of the league’s model franchises. They’ve just been average and unremarkable, and while you can make that case again for them this season, it has worked mostly because of their superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger has enjoyed one of his top seasons of his career in 2014 as he has an abundance of talented receiving options at his disposal. He’s posted career highs in most passing categories, and much of that can be attributed to a heroic outing in Week 14 at the Bengals. In that first match-up, Big Ben went 25-of-39, for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Since then, not much has changed and look for Roethlisberger to pick up exactly where he left off in that contest. The Bengals defense looked great on Monday night, but to be honest that had a lot more to do with just how bad Peyton Manning was. Roethlisberger is dominant right now and the fact remains that the Bengals cannot pressure the quarterback. They enter tonight with the fewest sacks in the NFL. Pittsburgh boasts a solid offensive front and will be able to contain Cincinnati’s pass rush with relative ease. Also a threat for the Bengals will be stud running back Le’Veon Bell who also had his way with Cincinnati’s defense in Week 14. He was simply unstoppable, gaining 185 yards and scoring twice. The Bengals run defense is a disaster right now, and the Steelers are going to be able to move the ball with ease.
For Cincinnati, expect a bit of a letdown coming off Monday evening’s big performance against Denver. They were good, but it’s one thing to perform at home, and another to do it again on the road against a red-hot offense. Cincy’s offense enters tonight in fine form, but they remain an easy team to prepare for. Since transferring the sole running reins to Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati has become a pretty solid team. But that said, the run game is all they’ve got, because Andy Dalton still cannot be trusted and still puts himself and his team in undesirable situations. The Bengals will need Hill to again be a stud to protect Dalton and long-yardage 3rd downs. That said, it remains to be seen if Hill will again turn in a solid outing. The Steelers run defense has been excellent over the past few weeks, and though they admittedly have a weakness in the secondary, Dalton is inaccurate and can’t capitalize with enough consistency for that to matter.
The Steelers boast one of the NFL’s best offenses and are simply an excellent team at home when facing divisional opponents. They’ve averaged over 35 points in their last five home outings, and with the current situation of the Bengals defense, they could eclipse that total tonight. It’s tough to bet against Pittsburgh in front of their own fans right now, so we won’t. The Bengals are an overrated group, especially on offense, and this failure will set them up for yet another post-season disappointment next week in Indianapolis. Roll with the Steelers to close out the season.
PICK = Steelers -3.5 (-115)