Monday Night Football Predictions
Will Steelers Continue Torrid Regular Season Run?
In theory, the Baltimore Ravens could challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers for top spot in the AFC North division, but the likelihood of the Steelers dropping a few games in a row remains slim. Instead, Pittsburgh aims for top spot in the conference, currently occupied by the New England Patriots.
The Bengals are playing to remain relevant in the wild card race, with the probabilities of Cincinnati making the playoffs dwindling week after week. Many considered the Bengals as an outside contender to earn a shot at the post season, a theory which hasn’t panned out in 2017.
- Game: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
- Pick: Steelers Beat -4.5 Spread, Under 43.0
- NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Steelers at Bengals - Vital Trends
Bengals Terrible Offense
Heading into week 13 of Monday night football, the Bengals have been a massive disappointment on offense, scoring only 18.1 PPG, which ranks 25th out of 32 teams. Pivot Andy Dalton started the season off with a horrible 47.2 passer rating, including four INTs and zero touchdown passes. This lead to a near-mutiny from the rest of the team, with reports of players openly wanting ownership to sign Colin Kaepernick before the season got out of hand. Dalton’s recovered, but an 0-3 start was a huge hole to climb out.
Steelers Powerful Defense
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been known for their strong defensive presence over the past several years, helping the team overcome an inconsistent, unimaginative offense. This season, the offense hasn’t been too bad, but the defense has shined. Other than letdowns against the Jaguars and a strange loss against the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh remains solid, giving up a mere 17.5 PPG - good enough for fourth in the NFL. The Steelers are ranked second in terms of pass yards allowed, and sixth in rushing yards given up, fantastic numbers for any team.
Antonio Brown Questionable
Although reports seem to suggest that Antonio Brown will be suited up against the Bengals, there’s no way that he’ll be at 100%, depriving the Steelers of their most potent offensive weapon. Brown’s a superstar wide receiver who makes Big Ben look good on a weekly basis, and his competitive drive will likely cause him to hit the field regardless of how his toe feels. If Brown plays, the Steelers offense improves drastically, adding to the probability of Pittsburgh beating the spread.
Bengals Weak Rush Defense
The Bengals allow 19.5 PPG, which ranks a solid 10th in the NFL. Their defense revolves around their secondary, which gives up the fifth least yards in the league, allowing only 12 TDs in the air. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, their pass rush has been less than stellar, allowing the third most yards in the NFL, making it more difficult for the rest of the defense to prevent progress. They’ll have a tall task in attempting to prevent Le’Veon Bell from racking up easy first downs tonight.
Le’Veon Bell Will Run Over The Bengals
The other prime mover of the Steelers offense is Le’Veon Bell, who already has 981 rushing yards after 11 games. He also averages 36 receiving yards per game, which makes him one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL. Since the Bengals feature one of the worst rush defenses, Le’Veon will be called upon to smash through Cincy’s defensive line on Monday night. He averaged 89.2 yards on the ground, but could easily surpass the 100-yard mark against the Bengals.
NFL X-Factors On Monday
Pittsburgh has beaten the Bengals in seven of their last meetings, which doesn’t include a close, AFC wildcard match in 2016, where the Steelers squeaked by with an 18-16 victory. Cincy has a 1-4 record at home over their last five games against Pittsburgh, which suggests that home field advantage won’t be a huge influence for tonight’s results.
One reason that Steel City have earned a stellar 9-2 record would be their improved play on the road, which was a significant issue in past seasons. In 2017, Pittsburgh has earned a 5-1 mark away from Heinz Field, with their sole loss against the Chicago Bears in week 3.
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