The Bengals are not only playing for an important win in the division, but they are also playing for their post season lives. The Bengals are hoping to right the ship after a horrible start to the season, but in order to do that, they will have to beat the Steelers.
Last year, the Bengals swept both games against the Steelers on their way to an AFC North division title. This year, they have a record of 2-5 and are in the basement of the division. The offseason acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens has paid off, as the controversial character has scored five of the Bengals 14 touchdowns.
Despite his good performance, the offense has come under fire for the lack of consistency.
The Steelers lost in New Orleans last week and head into this game eager to win so they can keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens. The pass defense that ranks near the bottom in the NFL is the weak link in a strong defense. The Steelers put pressure on the quarterback and trust the secondary to tightly cover the receiving corps.
That approach could cost them against the Bengals and present serious mismatches.
The Steelers will have to bring help on T.O. or Chad Ochocinco, as single-coverage will not get the job done. That will open up the middle of the offense on stretch plays, where wide out Jordan Shipley has been the main target in a Wes Welker-like role. Quarterback Carson Palmer has been criticized this year, but he seems to play well against the rival Steelers.
The Bengals play well at home under the Monday night lights, as they have a record of six wins and three losses.
The Steelers will be playing their third straight road contest and will come up short in this one. The Steelers are just 3-8 against the spread (ATS) in their last 11 games as a road favorite and 2-6 ATS when they face a team with a losing record.
The Bengals are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a home underdog and will be motivated to get the win in front of the home crowd.
Prediction: Bengals +5.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com,your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org