The Steelers kept their season alive with a win over the Falcons in Week 5. Now they need to find a way to win on the road against one of their biggest rivals in order to claw their way above .500 for the first time this season.
While it’s been an ugly start for Pittsburgh, all is not lost. A win here pulls them within a game of first place in the AFC North. However, a loss here sinks them further to the bottom of the division. Considering how good the other three teams are – including the Cleveland Browns – it might be too tall an order for the Steelers to make the playoffs if they lose in this spot.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Pittsburgh has won each of the last five meetings between these teams dating back to 2015. The Steelers have also won each of their last five games at Paul Brown Stadium. Pittsburgh has been one of the more disappointing teams against the spread early on with a 2-3 ATS record.
Cincinnati has been one of the best teams in the NFL to bet on with a 4-1 record against the spread. The Bengals are 6-1 straight up and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games dating back to last season. Cincinnati is also off to a perfect start at home with wins over both the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins to open the season.
The Steelers offence finally found its rhythm in last week’s win over the Falcons. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns, including 101 yards and two touchdowns to Antonio Brown. It took until Pittsburgh’s fifth game of the season for Brown to top 100 yards receiving. While JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner have been excellent, there is absolutely no doubt that the Steelers need Brown to get going in order to maximize their potential on offence.
The Steelers defence managed to hold the Falcons to just 17 points in their most impressive performance of the season. Pittsburgh ranks 25th in the NFL with an average of 26.6 points allowed per game this season – the Steelers will need to be better on that side of the football in order to contend in the AFC this season. It won’t get any easier for them in Cincinnati this weekend.
The Bengals rallied from 14 points down at halftime with 27 straight points to beat the Dolphins 27-17 last week. Andy Dalton threw for 248 yards and a touchdown. Running back Joe Mixon overcame a nagging injury to rush for 93 yards.
The challenge for the Bengals is that their stats don’t really match a team that’s 4-1. Their offence ranks 16th in the league in yards. They are 15th in passing and 22nd in rushing. On defence, the Bengals are 22nd and 23rd in passing and rushing. They are also 31st in third down percentage as opponents convert 52.7% of the time.
Although the Bengals are 4-1, they have to play better to maintain this record as those stats don’t suggest that they’re as good as they are.