Two AFC East teams go head to head in the Bengals and Steelers as the Steelers attempt to win to stay in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers lead the all time series 63-35, and have won 7 straight games against the Bengals.
The Bengals continued their slide with a 26-18 loss to the Browns last week. In week 14, they lost 26-21 to the Chargers, and in week 15 they beat the Raiders 30-16.
The Steelers lost in heartbreaking fashion Sunday in a 31-28 loss to the Saints. In week 14, they lost 24-21 to the Raiders, and in week 15 they beat the Patriots 17-10.
The Steelers are currently 14.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 45.5.
(6-9 overall, 2-5 on the road)
The Bengals offense has gone downhill with the losses of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, and the Bengals have turned into a run first offense, and Jeff Driskel has done his best to right the ship. Driskel has thrown for 908 yards, 6 TDs and 2 INTs while completing 60.8% of his passes while averaging 5.9 YPA. Tyler Boyd is their most consistent receiving threat, catching 76 balls for 1028 yards and 7 TDs. Joe Mixon (42/294/1), C.J. Uzomah (42/433/3), and John Ross (20/209/7) get the majority of the remaining targets. Mixon has been heavily featured in the ground game as of late, rushing 223 times for 1066 yards and 8 TDs on the year. Gio Bernard (53/204/3) and Jeff Driskel (24/117/2) get involved as well.
The Bengals scoring defense ranks dead last allowing 29.3 PPG. Their pass defense ranks near the bottom of the league allowing 275.7 yards per game and 31 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks well below average with 33 sacks. Their run defense ranks near the bottom of the league allowing 142.6 yards per game and 17 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 17 turnovers and as a team they own an even turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) – questionable, WR Tyler Boyd (knee) – questionable
(8-6-1 overall, 4-3 at home)
The Steelers have been one of the more frustrating teams in the last couple of weeks, dropping games to the Broncos and Raiders while beating the Patriots in week 15. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 4842 yards, 33 TDs, and 15 INTs while completing 66.8% of his passes and averaging 7.7 YPA. JuJu Smith Schuster and Antonio Brown have arguably been the best offensive duo in the NFL (excluding QBs). JuJu has caught 106 balls for 1389 yards and 6 TDs while Brown has caught 104 balls for 1297 yards and 15 TDs. Vance McDonald (47/571/4), Ryan Switzer (35/251/1) and Jaylen Samuels (19/159/3) are involved as well. James Conner is still questionable, but his 910 yards and 10 TDs has been missed. Jaylen Samuels (54/254/0) and Stevan Ridley (29/80/1) have been decent in his stead.
The Steelers scoring defense ranks middle of the pack allowing 23.1 PPG. Their pass defense ranks middle of the pack allowing 241.7 yards per game and 27 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks top 3 with 48 sacks. Their run defense ranks 6th allowing 94.2 yards per game and 13 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced just 15 turnovers and as a team they own a -10 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
RB James Conner (ankle) – questionable, S Sean Davis (quad) – questionable, LB Vince Williams (toe) – questionable
The Bengals offense has been dreadful to say the least. Their only real options are Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd but the Steelers have an excellent run defense and the Bengals don’t have consistent play at the quarterback position. The Bengals offensive line is also worrisome against a great Steelers pass rush, but Jeff Driskel and Tyler Boyd should move the ball and put up enough points to keep this within 2 scores.
The Bengals defense has really gotten a bad wrap lately but they still have playmakers in the backend. William Jackson is reputable for shutting down Antonio Brown and Jessie Bates in centerfield should take away the threat of the deep ball. The Steelers run game has not really been a threat without James Conner and that is one of the best ways to take advantage of the Cincy defense. A Steelers win will never be in doubt, but the Bengals should do enough to keep this within 2 touchdowns.
Final Pick: Bengals (+14.5)