Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5 SU, 4-8 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date and Time: December 7, 2014, 1:00 PM EST.
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH.
by Wilson, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Pitt +3.5/Cin -3.5
Over/Under Total: 47
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The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Pittsburgh this weekend in an attempt to keep their recent winning streak alive. The orange and black cats have won three in a row and hope to catch the black and yellow Steelers in a funk after the Steelers dropped a game to the Saints last weekend. The Bengals just completed a 3-game road-sweep which is difficult to do in the NFL. They will welcome their conference rival and nemesis Pittsburgh into Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday for a chance to secure their playoff hopes. With their dramatic near-loss but win at Tampa Bay the Bengals finally earned a deep breath in the AFC North as they learned they were the only team from their tight raced division to get a W on Sunday. So what if the Bengals lead is only a game and a half, it is better than before as all the teams have been neck and neck. Pittsburgh will definitely be looking to make up for their loss to New Orleans and get back in the race for playoff seeding.
Pittsburgh is a team that is hanging on week to week, and this week is no exception as they will once again try to sneak into the running of post season accolades. They will likely count on the running game LeVeon Bell more down the stretch. Bell was on the field for 88 of the Steelers 90 snaps on Sunday which all but indicates how important he is and how the coaching staff does not think the rookie RB Dri Archer can spell Bell for even a handful of downs. Steelers QB, Big Ben, needs to play more like the guy who tossed a combined 12 TDs in two games (against the Colts and Ravens) and not the four TDs and five INTs hes accounted for in the last three Steelers contests. Steelers receivers, Brown and Bryant, each missed catchable passes in the end zone last week while TE Heath Miller ended up being the most targeted receiver with 14 looks. Miller had 8 receptions for 82 yards and probably would have gone for more than 100 yards if Big Ben didnt miss him a couple of times.
Bengals QB, Andy Dalton must play better than he did in the lucky win at Tampa, and even though they escaped with the win Dalton will be challenged this weekend by a desperate Steeler defense. This game will be a battle of two teams that really do not have a lot of talent outside of their two or three blue chip players. With the loss of Steelers DE Brett Keisel to a season ending injury against the Bucs the Steelers D will be suspect even more than they have been. Keisel is a 13 year veteran who might be done for good now. If there ever was a time to beat up on the Steelers it is this weekend.
Steelers Head Coach, Tom Coughlin was criticized last week for his poor clock management at the end of the first half in which many thought the Steelers could have a had a better chance to put points on the board. Although a seasoned coach with plenty of significant games under his watch it is a bit surprising the Steelers were not more prepared for the mediocre Saints. Hopefully the Steelers show up and play better all-around this week at Cinci otherwise they may be in for yet another tough game.
Both of these teams know the importance of the next four weeks especially Pittsburgh as they are the team under the gun and facing all the pressures of missing the playoffs unless they win at least 3 of their last 4 contests.
Heres the deal, Pittsburgh has been wishy-washy all season and just when their defense gets healthier they lose one of their rocks in Keisel. Ben Roethlisberger can be dynamic or he can be a dud. It is crucial that Big Ben shows up like the QB everyone knows he can be if the Steelers want a shot at the post season. But will it be enough to knock out the currently hot streaking Bengals? I think the Steelers manage to pull it together this week and despite the negative press and injuries facing them they get the job done in a grinder on the roadtypical Pittsburgh style. I like the Steelers to cover on the road and send a message to the rest of the AFC North that the boys from Steel Town are not done yet. Luck to ya.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Steelers cover. Note: The writers at Predictem.com are contracted and their opinions often times differ from those of the owners of the site. Both Predictem Admin’s are HEAVY on the Bengals this weekend.