Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview
Where: Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Sunday, December 18, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
Writer’s Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have undergone quite a transformation over the past few weeks. They are no longer the free-scoring, pass-happy offense of years past. Instead, they’ve become a more old-school, run-first team with a very good defense to match.
That has been the formula they’ve used to reel off a four-game win streak. Their 27-20 road win over the Buffalo Bills was especially impressive. With Ben Roethlisberger turning in his worst game of the year (220 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs), Le’Veon Bell picked up the slack with a career-high – and new Steelers record – 236 rushing yards on 38 carries and 3 rushing TDs. He added 62 receiving yards as well.
Bell has been an absolute bell cow for the Steelers over the past month. He’s averaging nearly 30 carries and 115 rushing yards in his last four games to go along with 50 receiving yards.
More impressively, though, the defense came up huge once again. They limited the Bills’ top-ranked rushing attack to just 67 rushing yards on 3.7 yards per carry. Through the past four games, the Steelers are limiting opponents to 12.5 points and 257 total yards per game.
The Bengals defense has not been good against the run this season. They are down in 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game (114.9). That should open the door for Bell to have another big game. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense has historically been able to keep Andy Dalton quiet. They have held Dalton to a passer rating below 90 in 10 of his 11 career games against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are 8-3 all-time against the Bengals with Dalton under center, and 8-2 (7-3-1 ATS) in their last 10 trips to Cincinnati.
Betting on the Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
The Cincinnati Bengals’ chances of getting a sixth-straight winning season are still alive after back-to-back wins have moved them up to 5-7-1 on the year. Although, it should be noted that those wins came against the Eagles, who have now lost four games in a row, and the 0-13 Browns.
Still, Andy Dalton had a very good game against a very good Eagles defense. He went 23-of-31 for 332 yards and two touchdowns. That was his most passing yards since Week 2, when he threw 366 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, 138 of those yards went to Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green, both of whom are out for the season.
Dalton will need to come up with a great game since the Bengals rushing attack just can’t be trusted. They averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in their Week 2 meeting against the Steelers, and haven’t done much better in recent matchups against the good run defenses of the Ravens (3.2) and Eagles (2.4).
Meanwhile, the Bengals defense has improved as the season has worn on and will look to limit a struggling Ben Roethlisberger. They’ve held their last four opponents to under 15 points per game. That unit, led by the infamous Vontaze Burfict, will not be short on motivation for this matchup against the Steelers, which will be the biggest game of the Bengals’ season.
The Steelers (-3) have just enough on both sides of the ball to edge this rivalry matchup once again, 21-17.
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