Monday, Sept. 16, 8:40 p.m. (ET)
Pointspread: Cincinnati -3
Total Line: 40.5
The Steelers missed the playoffs in 2012 for just the third time in the last nine years at 8-8 and are in serious danger of falling into an early 0-2 hole with a loss on Monday night. They came out flat in last Sunday’s season opener with an ugly 16-9 loss against Tennessee as six-point home favorites with the total staying well UNDER the 41.5-point closing line. The loss broke a string of 10-straight victories in the team’s home opener.
Most of Pittsburgh’s problems last week were on the offensive side of the ball. It only managed to gain a total of 194 yards including just 31 yards on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception while getting sacked five times. Isaac Redman added to the team’s woes with two fumbles and the Steelers lost the battle of possession on the clock by a full eight minutes. The only bright spot was a defense that held Tennessee to a total of 229 yards.
Cincinnati can find itself in the same 0-2 boat with a loss in this game after dropping its opener to Chicago 24-21 as a three-point underdog on the road. The total went OVER the 41-point line in that game. The Bengals were in prime position to get a win in this one with a 21-10 lead midway through the third quarter, but two unanswered touchdowns by Chicago sealed the loss.
On paper, the Bengals’ overall numbers do not look that bad. They gained 340 total yards with Andy Dalton throwing for 282 yards and two touchdowns while completing over 78 percent of his passes. AJ Green came up big with nine catches for 162 yards and the defense held Chicago to just 81 yards on the ground. However, they did shoot themselves in the foot with three turnovers and were completely ineffective running the ball with a total of 63 yards.
Free NFL Pick
Pittsburgh is 11-1 straight-up in its last 12 road games against the Bengals and it has won five of the last six meetings overall, but its current form does not bode well for these positive trends to continue on Monday night. That being said, I also do not see the Steelers losing this game by more than seven points in what should be a tight AFC North battle.
Cincinnati 23 Pittsburgh 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.