Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was NFL coach of the year last season. By the end of this season he could be simply a former NFL coach. Lewis leads his underachieving Cincinnati Bengals against the overachieving Pittsburgh Steelers. All the numbers point to this being a no-contest. The (2-5) Cincinnati Bengals will host the (5-2) Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night affair, kickoff slated for 8:30 PM EST. Pittsburgh has a 53-29 lead in the series but even in their worst years Cincinnati often plays its best games against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers lost last Sunday to the reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Roethlisberger struggled against New Orleans, but he looks forward into playing in his home state of Ohio in front of his family and friends. Pittsburgh typically hasn’t had much trouble coming through in Cincinnati. A 23-20 loss there on Sept. 27, 2009 — in which it blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead — snapped its eight-game winning streak on the shores of the Ohio River. Roethlisberger is 6-1 in Cincinnati with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. His lowest passer rating in those seven games was 93.2. He’s hardly the only reason the Steelers have had success on the road against the Bengals. Pittsburgh has run for 162.1 yards per game in its last nine visits, an average that must sound great to Rashard Mendenhall considering he’s been held to a 67.8-yard average in his last four games. The Cincinnati defense has been pretty craptastic thus far this year, so that should help the Steelers offense. Their cornerbacks have been banged up and their front seven hasn’t been as impressive this season as it was the past two seasons. If the Steelers can run the ball and Roethlisberger has enough time to throw, then maybe they can score enough points to pull one out.
Lewis entered the season as one of only two coaches in Bengal’s history with a winning record. He took a bunch of perennial losers and made them believe in themselves. He led the Bengal’s to the AFC North championship and a 10-6 record last year. But he’s never gotten control of the roster and often has clashed with owner Mike Brown. The team has struggled this season, losing four in a row. There is speculation that Lewis believes he can’t take this franchise any further. QB Carson Palmer is going through one of the roughest stretches of his career. The seven-year veteran has 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but has repeatedly struggled to connect with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco and has had numerous potential picks dropped. Carson Palmer still is a decent quarterback but the rushing game hasn’t opened up even with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco trying to spread defenses. The pass game simply hasn’t clicked with the deadly precision the Bengal’s expected. The Bengals’ defense couldn’t catch a cold — they’re 19th in the league. All of which means the Bengals’ have got the Steelers right where they need them. This is the Bengals’ biggest rival this side of Cleveland. The nation will finally see the dynamic duo (supposedly) of Bengals wide receivers Terell Owens and Chad Ochocinco with quarterback Carson Palmer airing the ball out. Well, the duo is anything but dynamic, while Palmer, who is pulling the trigger and is 7th in the league with 1,855 passing yards, has not orchestrated the offense as expected. Running back Cedric Benson is 12th in the league in rushing with 545 yards with two touchdown rushes, averaging 3.8 yards per carry, and has fumbled three times in critical situations. To make matters worse, the Bengals defense has fallen apart, largely because of injuries.
Steelers vs Bengals Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -6
@ Cincinnati Bengals +6
Game Total Line:
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Steelers vs Bengals Predictions for Week 9 MNF:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The Bengals have seem to have the number on the Pittsburgh Steelers as of late. They swept the season series against them last year and are poised for another series sweep. The Bengals play well in Paul Brown Stadium, in fact they have won 6 SU out of their last 9. Early expectations had this prime-time battle set as a divisional matchup for the lead of the AFC North. Instead, the Bengals are fighting for respect or perhaps for their playoff hopes because a loss will mark the end of their disappointing season, while the Steelers will play to clement their claim in the AFC. The Bengals were built and designed to beat the Steelers and the hated Ravens. The Bengals posses an effective aerial attack and the Steelers posses a suspect pass defense. With Monday night’s game and a big game against the Patriots next week, they can position themselves well with two wins. After that, they have a suddenly feisty Raiders team, then Buffalo. An undefeated November would establish them as a legitimate contender and position them to rain Hell in December. The Saints game was a letdown, but the Steelers have another shot to prove that they’re for real. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re going to take that shot. Take a look at the underdog boys from southern Ohio in this one.
Game Total Prediction – For the Bengals’ to be able to cover this spread means that they are going to have to score, and thus the OVER will be in play here. The Bengals have been able to put up points this season and should be able to find their spots against a suspect Steelers defense.The total has gone OVER in 6 of Cincinnati’s last 9 games. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger looked shaky last week in New Orleans but he is a Pro Bowl pivot and he will have his shots to put his team on the scoreboard on Monday night. These two teams have gone over the posted total 3 out of the last 4 times they have hooked up. The Cincinnati defense has been pretty pathetic thus far this year, so that should help the Steelers offense. Their cornerbacks have been banged up and their front seven hasn’t been as impressive this season as it was the past two seasons. If the Steelers can run the ball and Roethlisberger has enough time to throw, then they will be able to score some serious points. We will consider the OVER in this AFC North rivalry clash.
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