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Contipelli's Countdown | Week 12 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers

It's round two of Steelers vs Bengals in 2021, as the AFC North rivals meet at Paul Brown Stadium for the 105th all-time meeting. The AFC North is the only division in the NFL where every team is above .500, as Sunday's contest is a crucial one when it comes to the standings.

Here are five things to know ahead of Sunday's Week 12 AFC North matchup against the Steelers:

1. Eyeing Eight 

Joe Mixon has recorded a touchdown in seven straight games, marking the longest streak of his career and longest ever by a Bengals running back. He is the first Bengals running back to rush for a touchdown in four straight games since Cedric Benson accomplished that mark in 2009.

Mixon has found the end zone multiple times in three straight games, as his touchdown total on the season stands at 11, with nine of those coming on the ground. The nine rushing touchdowns are already a new career-high for the fifth year back, as he's eyeing Ickey Woods' single-season franchise record of 15 set back in 1988. Mixon is tied with Jeremy Hill for sixth in franchise history with 29 career-rushing touchdowns. 

Mixon's 759 yards on the ground are the most he has tallied through the first ten games of a season, as he currently has the fourth-most rushing yards in the league. 

2. Money Mac

Evan McPherson became the first Bengal to hit three 50-plus yard field goals in a single game, and the third rookie in NFL history to ever do it. McPherson has netted six field goals from beyond 50 yards this season, trailing Blair Walsh by four for the most in an NFL season by a rookie. Walsh connected on 10 field goals of 50 or more yards in 2012. McPherson was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the week for the second time this year, joining Doug Pelfrey in 1994 as the only Bengals kickers to win the award multiple times in a single season.

Bengals safety Vonn Bell drops back in coverage against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3. Bend, Don't Break

The Bengals defense has held strong when taking over after an offensive turnover. In 12 instances following a turnover by the offense, the defense has allowed only one touchdown and six field goals. That means the opposing offense has failed to score points on five of those possessions. 

4. Wham! Sam!

With his fourth-quarter sack on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Sunday, Sam Hubbard has recorded at least one sack in two straight games as he is closing in on his single-season career-high. Hubbard's six sacks through 11 games are the most he's recorded in that span as he needs three sacks to set a new single-season high. 

5. Steel City Foe

While Pittsburgh leads in the all-time series between the Steelers and Bengals, Cincinnati has won the last two meetings as they look to make it three in a row on Sunday. In the most recent meeting back in Week 3, Logan Wilson picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice as the defense put on a show at Heinz Field. Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, and Cam Sample all recorded sacks on Roethlisberger as the defense held Pittsburgh to less than 50 yards rushing as a team in the 24-10 win. The ten points scored by the Steelers is a season-low and the lowest total they've put on the scoreboard since 2019.