The Buffalo Bills (9-4) need a win in one of their final three games of the year to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Buffalo gets its first crack at clinching a playoff berth on Sunday night, when the Bills, the No. 5 seed, travel to play the No. 6 seeded Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at 8:20 p.m. at Heinz Field.
This will be Buffalo’s first appearance on Sunday Night Football in 12 years — since a 56-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Nov. 18, 2007.
The Bills are currently the AFC’s top Wild Card team, with the Steelers and the Tennessee Titans (8-5) one game back.
The Steelers have rattled off seven wins in their last eight games to get back into the AFC playoff hunt. Pittsburgh, which lost Ben Roethlisberger two weeks into the season to a right elbow injury, first turned to Mason Rudolph before finding success with Devlin “Duck” Hodges, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Samford University.
Much like Leslie Frazier’s defense — which ranks second in scoring defense (16.3 points per game) and third in total defense (allowing 296.8 yards per game) — the Steelers are led by a defense that ranks fifth in yards allowed (310.9) and sixth in points allowed (18.6). This is helping to overcome a middling offense that ranks 23rd in points per game (19.9) and 28th in yards/game (290.1).
This will be the 25th meeting all-time between the Bills and Steelers.
Pittsburgh leads the series 16-9, prevailing in the last six meetings, including a 27-20 contest in the snow at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Dec. 11, 2016. In that game, the Bills picked off Roethlisberger three times, but Le’Veon Bell rushed for 236 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries (an average of 6.21 yards per rush) to propel Pittsburgh to victory.
The last time the Bills beat the Steelers? Oct. 10, 1999 when Doug Flutie passed for 261 yards with three touchdowns in a 24-21 victory. Flutie connected with Jay Riemersma on an eight-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give Buffalo a 24-14 lead, and the Bills held on for the win to improve to 4-1.
Here’s how to watch Sunday’s game from home:
Date: Sunday, December 15, 2019
Time: 8:20 p.m. Eastern
Channel: The game will be carried nationally on NBC.
Announcers: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter).
Location: Heinz Field | Pittsburgh, PA
Radio: WGR 550 AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), Fan 590 AM (Toronto), WTKW 99.5 FM and WKTV 105.5 FM (Syracuse), and the rest of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.
Radio Play-by-Play: John Murphy and Eric Wood in the booth with sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.
Online: NFL Game Pass, NFL.com Game Center
Twitter: Follow @BuffRumblings for complete Bills coverage on Twitter before, during, and after every game.
Facebook: Like Buffalo Rumblings on Facebook!
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- Did not practice Thursday: OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle).
- Full participant: RB James Conner (shoulder), RB Jaylen Samuels (groin).
- Limited participant: TE Vance McDonald (concussion), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee).
- Did not practice: WR Johnny Holton (illness).