NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Players to Watch in Week 15

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5 Players to Watch in Week 15

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, it seems like I say that every game for the Pittsburgh Steelers is the most important of the season. Well, this week is no different. Pittsburgh will be facing a must-win when they meet the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night at Heinz Field.

The Bengals (9-4) are currently in first place in the AFC North division, while the Steelers (5-8) are sandwiched in the divisional rankings in third place. Cincinnati can clinch the division title this week with a win and a loss by the Baltimore Ravens. Even if Baltimore doesn’t lose, the Bengals can secure a playoff spot with a win and a Miami Dolphins loss.

On the other hand, the Steelers needs to come away with this victory over Cincy just to stay alive in the playoff hunt. There is no way that Pittsburgh can win the division. Even finishing out the regular season on a winning streak wouldn’t be enough, because the Bengals can lose their final three games and still end up with a better overall record than the Steelers.

With so much at stake for both ball clubs, there is a lot of things to consider when it comes to figuring out who to focus on in this battle. There is always the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In the month of November, Roethlisberger had thrown 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. During that span, he averaged 289.0 passing yards per game. Last week, Big Ben had 349 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.

Obviously, the face of the franchise would be a main focal point in this game. However, there are some other players that deserve just as much attention this Sunday night. Let’s take a look.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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5. Al Woods

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Starting nose tackle Steve McLendon is listed as questionable, and will more than likely not play this Sunday night. Reserve nose tackle Al Woods did an outstanding job the last time he stood in for McLendon, and a repeat performance will greatly help Pittsburgh’s defense.

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4. Ziggy Hood

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike McLendon, there is no doubt that veteran defensive end Brett Keisel will be sidelined this week. Reserve defensive end Ziggy Hood will get yet another chance to convince Pittsburgh’s coaching staff that he is worth hanging on to this coming offseason.

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3. Jason Worilds

Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have given up the fourth least sacks in the league (26) up to this point this season. Linebacker Jason Worilds has been showing out since being reinserted into the starting lineup. Worilds has recorded six sacks in the last six games, and is playing much better now that he is playing on the left side of the defense. Hopefully, he can manage to keep that momentum going against Cincy’s O-line.

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2. Ike Taylor

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Since the second half of the season, cornerback Ike Taylor has been struggling against big-time wide receivers. This week won’t get any easier with A.J. Green lining up across from him. Taylor’s ability to contain Green will be vital to the Steelers’ success.

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1. Le'Veon Bell

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first time these two teams met this year, rookie running back Le’Veon Bell was sidelined. With the Bengals not having any feel for Bell’s style of play, the second-round draft pick could just be the X-factor in this game.