Pregame: Will Domination of the Bengals Continue?

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

1:00pm ET @ Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Ohio.

Projected Score: Steelers: 30 / Bengals: 24 

Game Lines: Steelers (+1) O/U 50.5

TV Broadcast:

Broadcast starts at 1pm ET with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Evan Washburn (sideline) are calling the game.

Radio Broadcast:

Steelers Radio Network- Game coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET. Calling the game will be Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Tunch Ilkin (color analyst) and Craig Wolfley (sideline).

All fans in the Pittsburgh area can listen locally on WDVE 102.5 FM & WBGG 970 AM.

Injury Report:

S Morgan Burnett (Groin) – Out

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Ankle) – Doubtful

LB LJ Fort (Ankle) – Doubtful

What to Watch For:

1.Joe Haden

The Steelers deployed Haden essentially to shadow Julio Jones which worked out very well for the Steelers, Haden held Jones to 5 receptions for 62 yards and no touchdowns. With the success last week it will be interesting to see if they use him to shadow AJ Green who has been hot so far this season and is coming off of a 6 catch / 112 yard performance last week against the Dolphins.

2. Injuries

When the Steelers and Bengals get together one thing is absolutely certain, it will be a very physical football game. Over the last 3 years the Steelers have seen major injuries in these games, most notably, Ryan Shazier (Spine), Le’Veon Bell (Knee), and Ben Roethlisberger (Shoulder). Therefore, one of the most important things to watch for in this game will be the Steelers ability to stay healthy.

 

3. James Conner

Last week the Steelers received a very Le’Veon Bell like performance from James Conner. When the Steelers are at their best they are able to control the game with long drives, which are done by effectively running the football. If the offense can establish the run game quickly, this will heavily tilt victory in the Steelers direction. Conner has also been very effective in the passing game which is part of what makes Le’Veon Bell so good. The best formula to winning in Cincinnati tomorrow will be giving Conner the ball as much as possible.

Keys to Victory

  1. Control time of possession by running the ball
  2. No turnovers by the offense
  3. Joe Haden shutting down AJ Green
  4. Slow down Joe Mixon
  5. Capitalizing on Antonio Brown in single coverage

Gambling Advice

(Courtesy of BOYDSBETS)

I would have to lean towards laying the short number here at home with the Bengals. I just feel there’s a ton of value with a home team as talented as Cincinnati laying less than a field goal in division game.

The reason we are getting such great value is the Steelers are a big time public play and the public will quick to back them off that 24-point win against the Falcons. Plus, the Bengals just aren’t a team that public is drawn to, no matter what their record is.

I want to point out that I absolutely loved the Steelers at home last week against Atlanta (was my strongest play). I just loved the spot for Pittsburgh, playing at home off that ugly home loss to the Ravens. Not to mention they were catching an Atlanta team that has been decimated with injuries on the defensive side of the ball and were coming off that devastating loss at home to the Bengals.

It’s also worth pointing out that while the final score was lopsided, the Steelers only had a 381 to 324 edge in total yards and both teams ended the game with 22 first downs. I just don’t trust this team on the road. It’s no secret that Big Ben isn’t the same quarterback on the road as he is at home. The Steelers are still without one of the best backs in the league in Le’Veon Bell and there just seems to be a ton of drama both inside and outside the locker room. This week it’s Antonio Brown making headlines for two lawsuits filed against him.

I know the numbers aren’t great for the Bengals defense, but I like the young talent they got on that side of the ball and let’s not overlook they played the first 4 without one of the top linebackers in the league in Vontaze Burfict. They also seem to keep making the big play when it matters the most. Not to mention the energy they will get in front of what should be an electric home crowd.

This also isn’t just another game for these two teams. There’s quite the rivalry between the two and I have to think this is one contest the Bengals have been itching to play. Cincinnati has lost each of the last 6 meetings. They know that in order to win the AFC North, they have to take care of business against this team and I just think for the first time in a few years, they are the more talented team on the field. Give me the Bengals -2.5.

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