Matt DiLeo previews this AFC North Monday Night Football Matchup.
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This Week 4 matchup will begin at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday September 30th at 8:15pm.
Before the season started, the AFC North was one of the toughest divisions to figure out. The Browns made multiple offseason moves and appeared to be a huge contender. The Ravens looked solid all around and the only question mark that they had was whether or not Lamar Jackson was legit or not. The Steelers even without AB and Le’veon Bell, looked pretty solid as well with Conner and Juju stepping up into bigger roles. Lastly, the Bengals looked to be in the bottom barrel of the league where they have been over the last couple of years. However, 3 weeks into the season the Browns look like a flop, the Ravens look like serious contenders, and the Steelers and Bengals are both 0-3. These 2 teams need to win this game if they want a shot at making the playoffs this year. The line opened up at -3.5 in favor of the Steelers but has shifted to -4 as of Friday morning.
The Bengals have started off 0-3 as expected, however they almost stole a game on the road in Seattle before they crumbled in the 4th quarter. They got blown out by the 49ers a week later, but then crumbled late in the 4th quarter against the 3-0 Bills. 2 of the 3 games have been very close and could have honestly gone either way. If the Bengals finished those games strong, they could have been 2-1 going into Monday night’s game. Andy Dalton Is still an average quarterback who can occasionally have a huge game and that is always a threat. The Bengals running game still needs to get going as Andy Dalton has their only rushing touchdown this year. Mixon will have to establish himself early and if he does, I think the Bengals can control the tempo. John Ross III has stepped up in AJ Green’s absence with 3 touchdowns already and Tyler Boyd has 250 yards on the season in 3 games as well. They will need everyone to show up on Monday night in Pittsburgh for a chance to win though.
Mason Rudolph has shown he can step up in Big Ben’s absence, but he is still figuring out the kinks and trying to find chemistry. James Conner is averaging about 32 yards a game which needs to change if they want to give Rudolph a chance to win football games. Juju Smith-Schuster has 14 catches for 243 yards and a touchdown this season, but he’s been the only playmaker besides tight end Vance McDonald. Nevertheless, the Steelers have owned the Bengals in the Big Ben era, the only problem is that Big Ben is done for the year. The Steelers are 16-3 in this decade against the Bengals, which means that Mike Tomlin and Big Ben have had the Bengals number for the last 10 years, so let’s see if Mike Tomlin can have continued success without his franchise quarterback.
- Cincinnati is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Steelers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.
- Steelers are 16-3 against the Bengals since 2010.
Bengals +4 via Draftkings
Steelers -4 via Draftkings
Bengals vs Steelers Prediction
This is a must win game for both teams and I honestly can’t pick a team with confidence at the moment. I don’t trust either team and for that reason I think I will look at the over/under at 43.5. The Bengals have not been scoring much as of late, but the Steelers have been so bad defensively that the low number is appealing. The Patriots put up 33 on the Steelers in week 1, the Seahawks dropped 28 on them, and the 49ers put up 24. I think the Bengals will score over 20 points and on the Steelers side, Rudolph will be more comfortable and able to move the ball down field more effectively. I’ll take the over in this game, and although I think the Steelers will pull it out in the end. I think the safer bet is over 43.5. Matty Ice Out!