What a slate we were gifted with these Week 4 games. We knew one of the big favorites would go down, and the Chiefs, Pats, and Rams all found themselves in dogfights. Congrats to anyone who avoided the Rams (not me) in survivor, although I suppose I’m the dummy who isn’t just fading Miami every single week. Unfortunately, yet again, this is not a very appetizing Monday night game. Four years ago this would’ve been a great divisional matchup between two physical defenses. At this point, however, both franchises are undergoing rebuilding projects with poor starts to the season leaving both searching for answers to get this season back on track.
Pittsburgh saw their season collapse before their eyes in the home opener with cornerstone Ben Roethlisberger needing Tommy John surgery. That didn’t stop them for trading a first round pick to Miami for Minkah Fitzpatrick. What this says to me is that the Pittsburgh front office is very much a believer in backup QB Mason Rudolph. Rudolph had a fantastic career at Oklahoma State, but got off to a very rough start in his starting debut against San Francisco. He should be a bit more comfortable at home, but I’m still not expecting too much. If their matchup against the 49ers was any indicator, their defense is going to be the key to winning this game. This is not the Steelers defense of old, as they find themselves in the bottom quarter of the NFL in YPP. The good news is that their red zone defense has been great, allowing just 45% of red zone entries to be converted into TDs. If they can contain the Bengals from breaking the big plays, they should be well on their way to righting the ship this week.
The Bengals have been a tough team to get a read on thus far. They’ve been competitive in two games this year, blowing late leads in the final minute, and Zac Taylor is still searching for his first career head coaching victory. They still have Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, and A.J. Green, but Cincy is right in the middle of the pack in YPP. Their defense has been just as bad as Pittsburgh’s however, allowing 6.4 YPP but a much worse 64% TD rate allowed in the red zone. Cincinnati is going to have to have their defense show up in a big way on Monday night. That was their Achilles heel against San Francisco, the defense let the game get away from them and the matchup was effectively decided by the end of the 3rd quarter.
Is it possible to be upset with a loss that wasn’t even close? Virtually no indicators from GBP or PHI that a shootout would ensue and yet that’s exactly what we got! Looked at Eagles all week long, and was too much of a wuss to run it back taking a dog moneyline after the Redskins kicked us in the nads on Monday NIght. So it goes with this gambling game. I don’t see too much difference between these two teams. Cincy’s offense is better on paper, but with another week of practice with Rudolph, I expect PIT to be a bit more explosive. I like PIT’s defense more, and I believe in Mike Tomlin more than Zac Taylor. Thinking this should be PIT -3.5 or so, we’ll roll with the half point of value on the home team here.
- Steelers -3 -110 1x
- 6-7 -1.85x