The Steelers have the 2nd best record in the AFC after defeating the Green Bay Packers 31-28 and look to be in the driver seat in the AFC. The Cincinnati Bengals are only 5-6 and are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. Steelers-Bengals is always intense so let’s look at the matchups:
Bengals Offense vs Steelers Defense
In their October 22 game in Pittsburgh, The Bengals only scored 14 points on 2 Andy Dalton touchdowns. In that game, Dalton went 17 or 30 for 140 yards and also had 2 interceptions. Things have changed as Dalton hasn’t thrown an interception since that game. Also, rookie running back Joe Mixon is coming off his best game with 114 yards and a touchdown vs Cleveland.
The Steelers defense isn’t quite the same since that October 22 game either; missing cornerback Joe Haden and Safety Mike Mitchell has hurt the secondary greatly. Last week against Green Bay, they made rookie Brett Hundley look like second coming of Brett Favre. He went 17 of 26 for 245 yards with 3 touchdowns. Both of these point to the Bengals putting up more than 14 points.
Steelers Offense vs Bengals Defense
It looks like the Steelers offense is finally living up to its potential, scoring 40 against the Tennessee Titans and 31 against the Packers last week. Only one small problem with that – they might be without the best wide receiver on the planet. Antonio Brown has missed the last 2 practices with a toe injury and is listed as questionable. He leads the league with 80 receptions and 1195 yards so it would be a huge blow to the offense if he can’t play. If he can’t play, look for Martavis Bryant to take over the number one receiver spot. He has had a very disappointing season so far with 27 catches, 346 yards and 2 touchdowns but he might rise to the occasion and show that he should get more playing time.
The Bengals defense is one of the best defenses the Steelers will face this season as they are 3rd in the league in sacks and 1st in red zone defense. The Steelers are 28th in the NFL in red zone offense so look for a lot of field goals.
The Bengals are only a game out of a wild card playoff spot and all signs are pointing the Bengals coming out with a win. But you can’t ignore the intangibles – Marvin Lewis is 8-23 against the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger always plays well in prime time, and these teams hate each other. The Steelers will find a way to win.
Steelers 21, Bengals 19