The Pittsburgh Steelers shrugged off the critics last week and handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season. Since then, the Chiefs have taken another loss, the most recent coming on Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders. It was a wild affair, with the Raiders winning in walk-off fashion with no time left on the clock. Faith has been restored in the Steelers, but fans can be fickle, and opinions can change week-to-week. A loss in a divisional game to the Bengals would undoubtedly shift negativity back on the Steelers. It’s because the Steelers lost so badly against the Jaguars. They’re a 4-2 team, so there are no reasons to ring the alarm.
While the Steelers responded last week, the Bengals have been responding over the last few weeks. They’ve seemingly sprung to life, right around the same time that offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was fired. In fact, Zampese and the Bengal offense was so bad that they didn’t have a touchdown before he was shown the door. Since then the Bengals have looked much better, notably quarterback Andy Dalton who needed to get going or risk getting benched. Marvin Lewis seat was also on fire. It’s been hot for the last couple of years, but it was in flames earlier this season. At least, you have to believe so.
Dalton has passed for 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions since Bill Lazor was promoted as the OC. Remember, the Bengals hadn’t scored 1 touchdowns through the entire duration of Zampese’s time in Cincinnati in 2017. And then, Dalton goes out and throws 7 touchdowns in three weeks. You don’t want to put their struggles all on one person, but the evidence against Zampese doesn’t look too good. The Bengals have gone 2-1 in their last three, their only loss a hard overtime loss to the Packers at Lambeau. That’s a tough one to swallow, but the Bengals responded the next two weeks. Head below for our free Bengals vs. Steelers pick.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds:
vs. Steelers -5.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Steelers Pick:
The Bengals had to win last week, and the Steelers had to win last week, too. The Bengals defeated the Bills. Well, they had to win in the court of popular opinion, anyway. Pittsburgh advanced to 4-2 and a lead of the AFC North. The Bengals are 2-3, but the Ravens have played an extra game and haven’t looked good at 3-3. So, the division is still there for a taking, and a win for the Bengals today would be huge.
Along with the 7 touchdowns for Dalton since the Packers game, the Bengals have scored an average of 25 points per game. The most impressive outing their last two weeks had to be against the Packers on the road. Yeah, they beat the Bills and Browns, but taking the Packers to overtime at Lambeau, on the road, is nothing to be ashamed about. Le’Veon Bell hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards on the Bengals in three attempts. In his last three games, he’s rushed for just 52.6 yards per game on the Bengals.
Despite that fact, the Steelers will try and exploit the Bengals 14th ranked defensive unit vs the run. Cincinnati have the most underrated pass defense in the NFL. They are allowing just 159.6 yards per game via the air. In total, the Bengals are 2nd in the NFL with 262.8 yards allowed per game.
The Steelers are right behind them in 3rd, allowing 272 yards a game. With regards to points per game, they’re nearly identical, the Bengals allowing 16.6 points per game and the Steelers 17 points per game. Money will come in on the Steelers because of their win last week in Kansas City. Pittsburgh’s offensive line will have some issues handling an impressive pass rush. The Steelers should be getting 3 or 3.5 points for homefield, but this should be an even matchup. The Bengals have been a different team since getting a new coordinator running the offense.
PICK: BENGALS +5.5 (-110)