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Pittsburgh Steelers beat rival Cincinnati Bengals to boost playoff hopes

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The AFC North division is still up for grabs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers went into the division leading Cincinnati Bengals' stadium and prevented them from clinching the AFC North by beating them 33-20. 

It was an emotional contest that saw the two teams scuffle during pre-game warmups, that emotion then followed through into the game as pushing and shoving ensued after numerous plays.

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The Bengals were dealt an unfortunate blow to their overall season hopes too.

Not only did they lose to a divisional rival, but they lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton to a thumb injury that will hold him out of action for at least one week, putting their hopes of clinching the division and capturing the top seed in the playoffs in jeopardy.

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The Steelers, on the other hand, were firing on all cylinders, scoring 30-points for the fifth consecutive game. They picked apart the Bengals secondary and the ageless DeAngelo Williams had himself two touchdown runs. 

They picked apart the Bengals secondary and the ageless DeAngelo Williams had himself two touchdown runs. 

The Steelers defence had itself quite a game also. Intercepting Andy Dalton in the redzone before he left with the injury, they then rattled backup quarterback A.J McCarron who threw two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. 

While the Steelers are currently just on the outside of the playoffs looking in, it is hard to imagine this year's postseason without them. With their high octane offence and opportunistic defence, it's a team nobody wants to face and everybody wants to watch.

Next week the Steelers take on another AFC juggernaut, the Denver Broncos, a victory over them would give the Steelers a 9-5 record with two remaining games versus the lowly Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

Is an 11-5 record reachable? I say yes. With the New York Jets having to face the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the closing weeks of the season, the Steelers could well capture a wildcard spot alongside the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Topics:
NFL
Cincinnati Bengals
NFL Playoffs
Pittsburgh Steelers

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