The Monday Night Football matchup between these longtime AFC North in week four features both sides with an 0-3 record. And there really are not any excuses to be made for either side. Cincy is finally kicking off a new era of Bengals football with Marvin Lewis gone, and Zac Taylor has not been able to rally his troops to any wins. The run game has struggled, while Andy Dalton has not looked like an elite passer under center, and the young backups could come in anytime.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, got rid of AB this offseason. They lost Ben for the year in week two. But their defense is very solid with playmakers, they have a great running back, with a few playmaking receivers. So, the fact that they sit at 0-3 is not acceptable. Mason Rudolph has enough around him to win games, thus allowing some of the blame to fairly fall on his shoulders for this horrid, unexpected start.
The spread for tonight’s game will favor Pittsburgh by 3.5 points, while the over/under is set at 45.
Cincy trying to snap out of their funk
On the bright side for them as they have struggled, John Ross III has finally started to resemble something of the first-round selection he was a few years ago. Tyler Eifert is still healthy thus far, and their receivers have actually been playing pretty well. But Joe Mixon has not been able to effectively run the ball, gaining just 87 yards on the ground after 32 carries. Gio Bernard has 32 yards on 16 carries and so if you do the math, this is under three yards per attempt whenever the Bengals run the ball. Yikes.
They got rid of Vontaze Burfict (now serving suspensions in Oakland), and that was supposed to bee a culture change. It has not been as the team has at times picked up silly penalties and lacked discipline. Look for Sam Hubbard (2.0 sacks), to bring the heat tonight.
Pittsburgh trying to avoid first 0-4 start under Mike Tomlin
This is a good chance for Mason Rudolph to turn in a big performance tonight. He was not exactly efficient against the 49ers, but at home, playing a divisional rival in primetime with the terrible towels waving, this is a good chance for him. Look for James Conner to also bust out of his little funk that he’s been in to kick off the year. The best thing may be for him to split carries with Jaylen Samuels in the earlier part of the game so that he can remain fresh for the crucial drives.
Rookie WR Diontae Johnson will get his first start tonight and we should keep an eye on him as a breakout performer. Also look for Stephon Tuitt on D, who has 3.5 sacks already this year, to really let Andy Dalton know he’s there.
Steelers get their first win
Make sure the Steelers -3.5 is your bet tonight folks. Tough battle will be won by the home team.