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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 Betting Odds, Prediction & Analysis
The Cincinnati Bengals will have a lot of confidence entering their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the newly-rechristened Paycor Stadium.
That’s not a feeling the Bengals, who long wallowed toward the bottom of the AFC North while the Steelers flourished, have often had. Cincinnati has won the last three meetings between the teams, including one in dominant fashion last season at home.
The challenge for Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and his teammates is burying the ghosts of the past.
While Pittsburgh is transitioning from having Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to veteran Mitch Trubisky, the Steelers still have an excellent pass rush capable of causing headaches for opposing offenses. Here’s a look at what to think of this Week 1 NFL matchup.
Cincinnati The Deserving Favorite
The Bengals are laying 6.5 points in this matchup and deservedly so. Even before their surprise run to the Super Bowl last season, Cincinnati had found success against its old rival. The Bengals ran all over the Steelers in Cincinnati late last season on the way to a 41-10 win.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon finished the last meeting with 165 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh had its worst rush defense last season since the AFL-NFL merger and lured Tyson Alualu back and signed free agent defensive end Larry Ogunjobi to try and mend the defense.
The Steelers will need to prove they can stop the Cincinnati rushing attack. With the Bengals ground game being so effective, they were able to balance things out by finding big holes in the passing game.
Trubisky Set To Run The Show
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to feed first-round pick Kenny Pickett to the wolves just yet. Trubisky will be counted on to try and make the second year of Matt Canada’s offense run smoother than the first year. The Steelers finished last season 20th in the league in points, scoring 20.1 per game.
Pittsburgh went skill-position heavy in the draft, choosing wide receivers George Pickens and Calvin Austin III to bolster the receiving core. Austin is already injured and will miss a few weeks, while Pickens has impressed observers.
But, when it comes to this offense, how successful they will be heavily depends on the offensive line. Pittsburgh doesn’t have any high pedigree players and will be counting on them to step up quickly. It could be a disaster.
Prediction And Analysis
This is a difficult game to see a path to victory for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has major issues on the offensive line that need to be fixed.
The Steelers will also need to find out if Trubisky can be a bona fide starting quarterback in the NFL. Cincinnati has a balanced offense that should be able to push the Steelers’ limits, despite Pittsburgh making some moves to shore things up. The Bengals will pull away in the second half to cover the 6.5-point spread, making that the play of the game.
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