Week 10 Preview: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelersby Sam Schneider November 15, 2020 0 comments
The Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) are in the Steel City to tangle with the NFL’s lone remaining undefeated team on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0) host the AFC North showdown between two teams with bad blood that was flexed to an afternoon slot.
Pittsburgh comes off a game in Dallas where they held off the surprising Cowboys (led by Garrett Gilbert) 24-19 and narrowly escaped to keep their perfect record intact. Ben Roethlisberger finished the game with minor injuries to both knees. He still closed out the affair with 306 yards passing and three touchdowns, one each to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, and James Washington.
While the Steelers had issues related to Covid-19 this week with several players unable to practice, most of it was precautionary. Roethlisberger was one of the players to go on the list due to contact-tracing but was activated on Saturday. With the knee issues, he likely would have been held of most practices, regardless.
After James Conner only mustered 22 yards on nine carries in the Dallas win, he will look to get back on track against one of the poorer defensive lines in the league in 2020. Conner is still the lead back in Pittsburgh, and though he only tallied nine carries in Week 9, no other back had more than three and did even less with them.
Pittsburgh will aim to take advantage of a Cincinnati team that has their own issues with missing players. The Bengals have a depleted secondary with Darius Phillips headed to the injured reserve, LeShaun Sims unable to clear concussion protocol, and Winston Rose landing on the Covid list. On the defensive line, Cincinnati will be without All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins who is dealing with an undisclosed personal issue.
On offense, running back Joe Mixon will miss his third-straight game with a foot injury. Initially assumed to be back after last week’s bye, it appears the injury was more serious than was reported. Giovani Bernard has filled in admirably in his absence, accounting for 174 total yards and three touchdowns in his two starts.
Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow will look to get the ball out quickly against a Steelers rush that features T.J. Watt (seven sacks) and Bud Dupree (six) as Pittsburgh is likely to blitz often. Though the Bengals’ offensive line is still banged up, Burrow has his full compliment of weapons at wide receiver. He is likely to look in the direction of Pittsburgh native Tyler Boyd over the middle with the Steelers missing Devin Bush (torn ACL) at linebacker.
Date: November 15, 2020
Start time: 4:25 P.M. est
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: CIN +7 | PIT -7
Moneyline: CIN +250 | PIT -325
Over/Under: O 46 | U 46
This game opened with a 10-point spread and the sharps were hammering Cincinnati (who has lost just one game by more than one score) to bring it down to seven points. That said, this could either be a close game or a blowout by Pittsburgh, so the spread is best avoided. The AFC North is not the division it was of past years as teams are now playing a more aggressive style of offense. In 2020, 46 points is just about chump change across the league. The Bengals’ secondary is decimated this week, and Pittsburgh’s is severely overrated. With Cincinnati trailing and Burrow playing catch-up, this game will go over to the 46 with ease.
Believe it or not, the Bengals can win the game and send the Steelers to their first loss. The visitors have had a lot of “close but no cigar” situations this season, losing four of their five games by a combined total of 15 points. Will they pull off the upset? Probably not. Pittsburgh has some minor injury issues, but Cincinnati is limping in. The Bengals close the gap in the fourth quarter but the home team puts them away with a late score in a game that was not as close as the score would indicate.
Final Score: Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 31
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