Sunday afternoon couldn't come sooner for Steeler Nation. After a heartbreaking 23-30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football in Week 9, fans are hoping the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) can get back in the win column on the road against the surging Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) prior to their bye week. The winner on Sunday will, at worst, have sole possession of second place in the AFC North. Were Baltimore to lose at Seattle, the winner would vault into first place in the division, and in the case of the Bengals first place in the entire AFC.
Here's a few facts, figures and trends for the two teams heading into Week 10:
- With win, Mike Tomlin can join HOFer Chuck Noll (193), Bill Cowher (149) & Raymond 'Buddy' Parker (51) as 4th head coach in club history to reach 50 regular-season wins.
- Steelers have won 8 of past 9 at Cin.
- QB Ben Roethlisberger is 6-1 at Cin. & has 10 TDs vs. 5 INTs & 98.7 passer rating. Aims for 4th straight game with 300+ passing yards (361, 365, 330).
- RB Rashard Mendenhall had 99 rush yards with 1 TD in last game at Cin. Mendenhall (24) needs 1 rush TD to become 8th player in Steelers history with at least 25 rush TDs.
- WR Mike Wallace aims for 3rd consecutive game with 100+ rec. yards (102, 110) at Cin.
- WR Antonio Brown had career-best 109 rec. yards last week & has reached 100+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3.
- LB LaMarr Woodley (48) needs 2 sacks to become 6th player in franchise history with 50 career sacks. Unfortunately, it appears as if Woodley will have to wait until after the bye week to accomplish that feat, as he's been ruled out for Sunday with a lingering hamstring injury.
- LB James Harrison has 5 sacks in 5 games in '11. Harrison has 3 sacks in past 4 vs. Bengals.
- S Troy Polamalu tied career-best with 2 INTs in last meeting vs. Cin., incl. 45-yard INT-return TD
- With win, Cincinnati can tie for 2nd-longest single-season win streak in franchise history (6 in '73, '75, '88).
- Rookie QB Andy Dalton (2nd round, No. 35) had career-best 3 TD passes last week. Dalton has 12 TD passes, most by rookie in team's 1st 8 games of season since merger ('70). Dalton aims to become 1st rookie QB w/ 6 straight wins since Vince Young (6) in '06. Dalton (1,696) needs 159 passing yards to surpass Greg Cook (1,854 in '69) for most passing yards by rookie in club history.
- RB Cedric Benson is averaging 81 rush yards per game in past 3 in Nov. (243 total).
- Rookie WR A.J. Green (1st round, No. 4) leads NFL rookies in rec. (40), rec. yards (599) & TD catches (5).
- WR Andre Caldwell recorded 2nd TD catch of season last week.
- WR Jerome Simpson aims for 3rd consecutive game with TD rec...Bengals allow 85.4 rush yards per game in '11, 2nd-best in NFL (49ers, 70.8)...Defense has recorded 9 FRs this season, 2nd-most in NFL (Bal., 10).