Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers
When: 8:20 PM ET, Sunday, December 15, 2019
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
PITTSBURGH – The Buffalo Bills had a three-game winning streak come to an end in a 24-17 loss to the AFC-best Baltimore Ravens last week and are staring at a tough two-game road stretch as they try to lock up a playoff spot. The Bills will try to bounce back and get one step closer to clinching a playoff spot when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight.
Buffalo, which visits New England in Week 16 before finishing up the regular season at home against the New York Jets, owns a one-game lead over a group of teams – including Pittsburgh – in the race for the No. 5 seed in the AFC and came within one score of knocking off the Ravens last week. “Where we are as an organization, the way we’ve built this thing and the progress we’ve made, our mindset is to go win the football game and to win every game,” Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters. “Maybe the first year, possibly (there were moral victories), but where we are now … especially we expect to win these games late in the year.” The Steelers are surging with wins in three straight and seven of the last eight games and face their own tough stretch to close out the season with trips to New York and Baltimore after taking on Buffalo. “We’re just focused on Buffalo,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. “That’s probably why we’re here. We don’t care about the three (wins in a row). We have a big five-star matchup Sunday night. We’re excited about it.”
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Steelers -2. O/U: 35.5.
ABOUT THE BILLS (9-4): Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen is making great strides in his second season but struggled against a tough defense last week, completing 43.6 percent of his passes in the loss. “I think our entire offense can (improve) and that starts with me,” McDermott told reporters. “Going back and making sure we improve if faced with similar situations and challenges. That’s really what we’re all about. That’s the growth mindset. How you make the adjustments from one week to the next and grow into a stronger football team.” Allen and the offense are doing just enough to keep up with the defense, which is third in the league in yards allowed (296.8) and second in points allowed (16.3).
ABOUT THE STEELERS (8-5): Pittsburgh quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges became the first undrafted rookie to win his first three starts with last week’s 23-17 triumph over Arizona. “He’s been able to gain more traction and gain more exposure,” Tomlin told reporters of Hodges, who is completing 71.3 percent of his passes and went 16-of-19 for 152 yards and a touchdown last week. “He’s been doing a good job of staying with the script, but he’s also doing a good job of being thoughtfully aggressive at the appropriate times, too. … He’s done a nice job of continuing to be the guy. That bodes well for him and for us.” Hodges could have more weapons available this week with running back James Conner (shoulder) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) both returning to practice.
- Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels (groin) and TE Vance McDonald (concussion) are questionable.
- Bills DT Corey Liuget (lower body) is questionable.
- Buffalo LB Tremaine Edmunds is getting his first chance to play against his older brothers, Pittsburgh S Terrel and RB Trey.