Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2 8-5 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-10 7-6 ATS)
In an AFC North matchup the reeling Cincinnati Bengals host the suddenly struggling Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are a big 14-point road favorite in this rivalry game with the total sitting at 41.5.
After winning their first 11 games the Steelers have lost their last two games. they have not scored more than 19 points in their last three games and in their two losses in a row they have only totaled 32 points.
Pittsburgh is now one game behind the Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC and they have a two-game lead in the AFC North over the Browns, who they face in the season finale.
Pittsburgh leads the NFL in scoring defense giving up an average of 18.2 ppg but in their two straight losses they have given up 23 and 26 points respectively.
Things have gone from bad to worse for the Bengals. They have lost five straight and since rookie QB Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending knee injury the offense has been inept. They have only scored seven points in each of their last two games and it is no wonder they are nearly a two TD home underdog against the Steelers.
The five-game losing streak began for the Bengals with a 36-10 road loss to the Steelers.
The Steelers are 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 games against the Bengals.
Offense Struggles Again
In losing their second in a row the Steelers’ offense struggled in their last game in a 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The team only gained 224 yards, only rushed for 47 yards, and Ben Roethlisberger was picked off twice.
Big Ben only ranks 20th in the league in QB and in the two straight losses he has three picks and four TD. His line has been awesome only giving up one sack in the last five games but he has been picked off five times in the last four games.
James Conner was back after missing time with an injury but did little in the Buffalo loss rushing for 18 yards on five carries.
In the 36-10 win over the Bengals, earlier this season Big Ben played well but even in a blowout the team only rushed for 44 yards. However, Cincy’s defense has struggled against the run, and look for Conner to shoulder a big load in this game.
No Burrow, No Offense
Since Burrow went down with an injury the Bengals’ offense has floundered. Ryan Finley Brandon Allen will likely get the start in this game and in the last game, which was a 30-7 loss to the Cowboys, he passed for 217 yards with a TD and no INT.
Not only is Burrow out but Cincy’s leading rusher in Joe Mixon is out indefinitely with a foot injury. The team has run by committee as of late and they did rush for 101 yards in the loss to Dallas.
With the Bengals’ offense stalled their D has to step up in this game and they have to avoid turning the ball over.
The Bengals have covered the spread in four of their last five home games and in an interesting trend, the Steelers have failed to cover in their last six December games.
The Steelers are struggling but a game with Cincy will get them on track. The Bengals simply cannot score and that will be the case in this game facing a strong Pittsburgh defense that will get on track. I see this game being pretty close to the spread with the Steelers not lighting it up but they will still win and cover facing the Bungles.
PICK: Steelers -14