Cincinnati (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
When: Sunday, September 18th 2016
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: CBS
The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers renew their hated rivalry Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Bengals appeared on their way to a Playoff win over Pittsburgh last season until the roof caved in. Jeremy Hill’s fumble opened the door and safety Adam Jones and linebacker Vontaze Burfict committed dumb 15-yard penalties to provide the opportunity for the Steelers to slam it in the Bengals’ face with a game-winning field goal in that Wild Card contest. Burfict, who is serving a three-game suspension and will miss Sunday’s game, ratcheted up the hatred in the series by pulling down Le’Veon Bell on a play that ended his season. Andy Dalton, who missed last season’s Playoff contest after fracturing his thumb versus Pittsburgh in Week 14, overcame seven sacks to throw for 366 yards in a 23-22 win against the Jets last week. A.J. Green caught 12 passes for 180 yards and a score and has found the end zone in each of his last three meetings with Pittsburgh. Green and Dalton are the most productive wide receiver-quarterback duo in its first five seasons with 395 completions for 5,789 yards, while their 40 touchdowns are tied with Miami’s Mark Clayton and Dan Marino from 1983-87.
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The Steelers have probably the best QB-WR combo in the game right now in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. The pair hooked-up twice in Monday night’s 38-16 win over the Redskins. Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns while Brown caught 8 balls for 126 yards. Roethlisberger has a 19-7 record versus Cincinnati with an 87.5 quarterback rating and 34 touchdowns while Brown has caught 36 passes for 498 yards and two scores in his last five games against the Bengals. With Bell serving a three-game ban, DeAngelo Williams earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors by rushing for 143 yards and two scores Monday night. Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier, who had an interception last week, recorded 13 tackles and two forced fumbles in the Wild Card game versus Cincinnati last year. Pittsburgh only allowed 55 yards rushing last week against Washington to rank third in the NFL in that category. The Steelers will travel across the state next week for a battle in Philadelphia.
These two teams really don’t like each other. The referees have already been warned to keep a close eye on the extra curricular activities. I like Cincinnati’s defense to keep the Steelers somewhat at bay. Pittsburgh defense isn’t that great especially against the pass. Dalton and Green should have big days and this game comes down to a field goal. I’ll take the points in this one.
Pick: Bengals +3.5