Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Sunday, 12/15/13 at 8:30pm on NBC
Game Line: Cincinnati Bengals -3 (from JustBet)
Sunday NFL Football Analysis: A win over the Steelers and a loss or tie by either Baltimore or Miami will put Cincinnati in the playoffs in three straight years for the first time. If it’s the Ravens who lose or tie while the Bengals win, the AFC North title is theirs. Before they can look ahead the Bengals need to take care of business under the lights in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati is 9-4 and has won three straight, two with an offensive outburst and one behind a stellar effort on the defensive side. The Bengals beat Cleveland and Indianapolis by a combined 83-48 score. In between, they shut the Chargers down in a 17-10 win at San Diego. Quarterback Andy Dalton is currently enjoying his highest passer rating of his career at 87, while the running back tandem of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard has been running very well. They’ve combined for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. The Bengals’ 160 passing first downs and their 86 rushing both rank in the top-half of the NFL, while the team’s 25.7 points per game is tied for ninth. Cincinnati has also thrived behind one of the NFL’s top pass rushes. They have 12 players who have recorded at least one sack on the season and three have six or more quarterback takedowns. Due to various injuries on the offensive line, Pittsburgh’s blocking has been below average, with Roethlisberger taking 39 sacks, tied for third most in the NFL. The Bengals took the Roethlisberger down twice in a 20-10 home win Sept. 16. The Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown overstepped the side line on a last second reception that would’ve won the game against Miami in the snow last weekend. The frustrating losses and their playoff chances that are all but gone might distract Pittsburgh here and keep them from playing their best football. Combine that with the pressure that Cincinnati can generate on Ben Roethlisberger and it could be a long day for the Steelers on both sides of the ball.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Free NFL Picks: Cincinnati -3 and over 40.5
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Game Prediction: 29-17 Bengals
What to expect in this NFL Football match up: The AFC North Division is known for playing tight low scoring smash mouth football games, but this won’t be one of them. Cincinnati’s offense is very fundamentally sound, they will limit the turnovers and penalties and move the ball up and down the field on the Pittsburgh defense. Pittsburgh’s offense will come out playing flat and Cincinnati will have no problem getting to Ben Roethlisberger in the second half of a game where Pittsburgh will be forced the throw the ball for much of the second half.