Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 9-25
Both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers will try to rebound from a dose of reality last Sunday when they meet up as part of the NFL week 3 slate. The Bengals and the Steelers pulled off upsets in their season openers but tripped up in their NFL week 2 games. Oddsmakers like the Steelers to bounce back better, making them -4.5 favorites.
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Burrow Confidence in Question?
QB Joe Burrow’s biggest strengths are his pinpoint accuracy and solid decision-making. Burrow completed 76% of his passes his senior year at LSU and had 13 TD to just 5 INT in 10 games in his rookie season but threw picks on consecutive plays in the loss to Chicago last week.
All of a sudden, Burrow is facing some questions. He hit 20 of 27 for 261 and 2 TD in the opener vs. the Vikings but was 19 of 30 with 3 INTs vs. the Bears. Burrow was 21/40 in his only meeting with the Steelers last season, a 36-10 Bengals loss at Heinz Field.
Of course, the Bengals are more than just Burrow. For all the flack he caught in the preseason, Ja’Marr Chase has a 50 and a 42 yard TD catch in his first two NFL games. The Steelers were torched for 373 yards through the air by Las Vegas last week, so the opportunities in the passing game will be there.
Steelers are an Enigma
It’s possible that the 2-0 Raiders are going to be a really good team this year, but how does Pittsburgh look so good in the 23-16 win at Buffalo as +6.5 underdogs then lose 26-17 as -5.5 favorites to Las Vegas at home. Last week was a charged-up game at Heinz Field, too, with 63,000+ fans in attendance, the first time at full capacity since 2019.
Regardless of how the first two weeks have played out, Pittsburgh needs to get things going on Sunday. The Steelers are the worst team in the league in rushing with just 57.0 yards/game, but it’s hard to see that getting any better with two rookies starting on the offensive line, a rookie RB and a rookie TE. The Bengals also held Dalvin Cook and David Montgomery each to 61 yards rushing on 20 carries, so their defensive line is stout.
There should be some opportunities in the air for the Steelers’ offense in this contest. Kirk Cousins threw for 351 for the Vikings in week 1, and Andy Dalton had been tearing up the Bengals secondary going 9/11 with a TD before injuring his knee last week. It’s time for WRs Chase Claypool and Juju Smith-Schuster to break out for Pittsburgh.
Bengals at Steelers Pick
Burrow should have a nice bounce-back after throwing 3 INTs last week, up against a Pittsburgh secondary that allowed Derek Carr to have a 28/37, 382-yard game last Sunday. There should be opportunities for the Steelers through the air too, but Pittsburgh doesn’t fare well when they are too one-dimensional, and there’s been no run game at all in the Steel City so far this season.