Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. CIN

Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. CIN


Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. CIN

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Prediction: PIT 17, CIN 24 (Line: PIT by 2.5)

UPDATE: DeAngelo Williams has already been ruled out this week. Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the primary back.

This should be a fascinating game to watch as both teams square off for the third time this year. The Bengals won 16-10 in Pittsburgh in Week 8 but then the Steelers won 33-20 in Cincinnati just four weeks ago in the game when Andy Dalton broke his thumb. Dalton is not due back quite yet while the Steelers have scored over 30 points in six of their last eight games. The Steelers on the road again will be tough for them and the Bengals still playing without Andy Dalton will be their challenge. This game could go either way though there is no denying how good the Steelers offense has been this season. They will be facing the #2 defense in the NFL for points allowed.

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 @NE 21-28 10 CLE 30-9
2 SF 43-18 11 BYE ——
3 @STL 12-6 12 @SEA 30-39
4 BAL 20-23 13 IND 45-10
5 @SD 24-20 14 @CIN 33-20
6 ARI 25-13 15 DEN 34-27
7 @KC 13-23 16 @BAL 17-20
8 CIN 10-16 17 @CLE 28-12
9 OAK 38-35  
News | Statistics | Roster
Steelers Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 300,2
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint 40
RB Jordan Todman 20 1-10
TE Heath Miller 8-90,1
WR Antonio Brown 6-80,1
WR Markus Wheaton 3-40
WR Martavis Bryant 4-60
PK Chris Boswell 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers defense ranks low but mostly because they have bombed opponents every week and forced them to throw so much. The chance that DeAngelo Williams might not play is bigger than it may seem because then the defense can focus almost solely against the pass. The Steelers are only 4-4 on the road and won’t get the benefit of knocking the opposing quarterback out of the game and forcing them to go with an untested player like A. J. McCarron who most has four games under his belt.

QUARTERBACK : While Ben Roethlisberger produced five different games with three or more touchdowns, his production against the Bengals has been much less spectacular. In Week 8, he only threw for 262 yards and one score when the Bengals visited and threw three interceptions. In Week 14, he passed for 282 yards and no touchdowns. For all his spectacular play, he hasn’t really done much against the Bengals.

RUNNING BACK : DeAngelo Williams is day-to-day with a foot injury and the team is preparing as if Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman will handle the backfield duties. Williams only ran for 71 yards on nine carries in the first meeting but then gained 76 yards and two scores on 23 carries in the Week 14 game while the Bengals were reeling from the loss of Andy Dalton. Losing Williams is a big step down. Last week Toussaint only ran for 24 yards on 12 runs while Todman had only two runs for eight yards.

I’ll assume Williams is out and update Friday if that changes.

WIDE RECEIVER : Antonio Brown may have set all-time NFL records had Roethlisberger not missed time. But he never did much against the Bengals. He caught six passes for 47 yards and one score in the first meeting and then seven receptions for 87 yards and no touchdowns in Week 14. Markus Wheaton turned in several big games this year but was limited to one catch at home versus the Bengals and then four receptions for 65 yards in Cincy. Martavis Bryant managed just 4-49 and 4-49 in his two matchups.

Bryant has been called out by Roethlisberger to step up his play since he has not scored since Week 13 and been held to single catches the last two weeks. But he was never that great against the Bengals anyway.

TIGHT END : Two of Heath Miller’s best games of the year came against the Bengals. He caught ten passes for 105 yards at home and later ten receptions for 66 yards in Cincy. The Bengals cover the wideouts well enough that Roethlisberger ends up checking down on his tight end.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The question here is how well the Bengals will compensate for not having Andy Dalton since that impacts all facets of this matchup. The Bengals at home are very good against the pass and only allowed six touchdowns there over their eight home stands. The Steelers only threw for one score combined in their first two meetings with the Bengals. And now they may not have Williams for a rusher. That will force Big Ben to throw.

He could get two scores but even that is almost without precedence in Cincy who is going to run the ball and try to keep it from becoming a shootout anyway. Antonio Brown and Heath Miller are must starts here but the rest have lesser outlooks. Bryant may be called out but he was never that good in the two previous meetings anyway. The Steelers rushing game is hands off this week unless Williams returns. The win last time came thanks to two scores by Williams and an interception return for a score against A. J. McCarron in his first real playing time.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 18 3 29 4 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN  3 17 12 18 12 3

Cincinnati Bengals

1 @OAK 33-13 10 HOU 6-10
2 SD 24-19 11 @ARI 31-34
3 @BAL 28-24 12 STL 31-7
4 KC 36-21 13 @CLE 37-3
5 SEA 27-24 14 PIT 20-33
6 @BUF 34-21 15 @SF 24-14
7 BYE —— 16 @DEN 17-20
8 @PIT 16-10 17 BAL 24-16
9 CLE 31-10  
News | Statistics | Roster
Bengals Rush Catch Pass
QB A. J. McCarron- 300,2
RB Jeremy Hill 50,1 1-10
RB Giovani Bernard 30 3-20
TE Tyler Eifert 5-50,1
WR A.J. Green 8-120,1
WR Mohamed Sanu 3-30
WR Marvin Jones 5-60
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals have gone 2-2 since A.J. McCarron stepped in to replace Andy Dalton and one of those were a three point overtime loss in Denver. The important statistic is that the Bengals have allowed fewer points to opponents than all other teams besides the Seahawks. And most home games in recent weeks have been dominating defensive performances. The Steelers have the flashy offense to be sure but less so on the road or against these Bengals. The Bengals sport that great defense and by now have the offense under McCarron running better.

QUARTERBACK : Andy Dalton took off the cast from this thumb but is not expected to play in this one – the divisional round is a real possibility should they reach it. A. J. McCarron has thrown a score in every game so far but never more than two and his 280 yards against the Steelers was a high – he’s remained below 200 yards in each game since. But McCarron also has not thrown an interception in the three successive games since that first meeting. Dalton passed for 231 yards and one score in Pittsburgh.

RUNNING BACK : Giovani Bernard did not have much success against the Steelers this year. He was limited to only one run for 12 yards and 22 yards on two catches in Pittsburgh and then six carries for 40 yards and three catches for 27 yards in the recent matchup in Cincy. Jeremy Hill ran for 60 yards on 15 carries in the first game but then was held to only 16 yards on seven runs in the second. Hill has been all over the map this year but leads the team with 11 rushing touchdowns.

WIDE RECEIVER : A.J. Green caught a score in three of McCarron’s four games and he came up big in both meetings. He ended with 11 catches for 118 yards and one score in the game in Pittsburgh and then six receptions for 132 yards and a score in the home meeting. Marvin Jones was good for 61 yards on six catches in the McCarron version but Mohamed Sanu disappoints no matter who is the starting quarterback. Green likes facing the Steelers and already had success with McCarron under center.

TIGHT END : Tyler Eifert has not been that effective versus the Steelers this year. He ended with four catches for 39 yards in the road meeting and then 42 yards on two receptions at home. Eifert missed two games with a concussion hooked up with McCarron for a score and 51 yards on four catches versus the Ravens last week. In his absence, McCarron threw a score to Tyler Kroft in Week 15.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers have one of those rare situations where they are among the very best at stopping the run and yet one of the worst against the pass – they are #32 against wide receivers. This go around should be better for McCarron who played four games now and he already had 280 yards and two scores the first time.

The Steelers are less formidable against running backs in road games though they had no real problem in Week 14. Then again – the whole Cincy offense was thrown off when Dalton went down. Neither Bernard nor Hill should offer more than moderate yardage and very likely not even that. Worth noting – the only successful running backs have been though in road games on teams that have good defenses – KC and SEA.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 13 15 16 11 15 16
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT  26 3 32 25 13 7

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