An important contest between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers ensues in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon. The Steelers survived the stretch without Ben Roethlisberger, and now that Big Ben is back the Steelers are in a great position. Speaking of great positions, the Cincinnati Bengals sit at 6-0 on the 2015 season and are looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. However, they were in a similar spot last year before they ran into the Patriots. That game changed everything, as the Bengals faded away into irrelevancy and the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl. You want to talk about turning points in a game, that was a turning point in the entire season. The Bengals look to avoid another similar fate this season, as they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. The Steelers at 4-3 could still make this a division if they win this and get some momentum going. With a healthy Roethlisberger and the defense playing much better than anticipated, there is more than an outside chance that the Steelers fight back and nab the division.
I see them having to win both games against the Bengals this season to make that happen. Knowing the history of the Bengals and their ineptness in the later part of seasons, the Steelers should be thinking of coming back and grabbing the AFC North crown. Despite their failures in the past, Andy Dalton has never been playing at this level. If it translates into postseason success remains to be seen. I can say that if the Bengals still don’t win a game in the postseason after the season Dalton is having, then there will never be any confidence in him to do it regardless of what he does in the regular season.
Head coach Marvin Lewis has had more than enough opportunities to do it and this has to be the year that they advance far in the playoffs. An interesting note here is if he will keep his head coaching job if they fail to win another playoff game. Bengals’ fans would call for his head again, but one must put things into perspective and wonder if there is a coach available that is better than Marvin Lewis. In other words, be careful what you wish for. A win over the Steelers this afternoon would send Cincinnati into a frenzy, we’ll all see if they can do it and advance to 7-0.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL
@ Steelers -1(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Steelers Pick:
The Bengals are coming off a bye after a 31-17 win over the Bills on the road. It looked like a trap game for the Bengals after they came all the way back to beat the Seahawks a week prior, but no trap there, as the Bengals had firm control of the contest throughout. Now, there are teams that are dying to get to the bye week to regroup, and then there are those that are on a major tear and don’t want any time off. In my opinion the Bengals didn’t want to see that bye week. For some teams, like the Patriots, who cares. They are always prepared to go to battle mentally. The Bengals will be tested here to see if they got complacent over the bye week. They are 3rd in the NFL with 410.3 yards per game. Dalton has passed for 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 1761 yards passing. Andy Dalton has an MVP sounds like some foreign terminology, but given the way he’s been playing, his name has to be in the discussion, at least for now.
The Steelers’ defense has defied the predictions early in the season. They are allowing just 18.7 points per game which is 7th in the NFL. The offense has filled with weapons but was slowed down with Roethlisberger on the sideline. Ben passed for 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions before going down. He had an impressive QB rating of 113.1, which is higher than last season when he threw 32 touchdowns and 9 picks. I think Roethlisberger comes back in a big way in this one against the Bengals. The Bengals are going to hit a snag and I think it comes a game after their bye at Heinz Field. I like this bet with the Steelers at only -1.
PICK: STEELERS -1 (-110)