Week 15 of Monday Night Football features the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2, 5-1 away) matched up against division rival the Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1, 2-4 home). The two teams met up in Week 10 in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers winning handily, 36-10. Monday night’s AFC North rivalry kicks off at 8:15 p.m. EST at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Pittsburgh is a 12.5-point road favorite in the divisional contest, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Steelers
After beginning the season with 11-straight victories, the Steelers are on a two-game losing streak and looking to get things back on track as they prepare for a postseason run. A win Monday or a loss by Cleveland on Sunday would lock up the division and keep the Steelers in the hunt for the top overall seed in the AFC.
Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes six weeks ago when these two teams faced off and would like to bounce back after a few off weeks and replicate that performance again Monday night. Three of Big Ben’s nine interceptions on the season have come over their two-game skid, and the veteran is averaging under six yards per passing attempt.
The Steelers rushing attack has been nonexistent as the team has shifted to a pass-heavy offense over the last two months. In the two losses, the Steelers have rushed for 92 yards on 38 carries for a measly 2.4 average.
Roethlisberger has spread the ball around this year, with Pittsburgh having three receivers over 600 yards receiving and four over 50 receptions. The bad is the Pittsburgh pass-catchers dropped nine passes against Buffalo last week, and their leading receiver Dionte Johnson leads the league with nine drops. Pittsburgh needs to clean up these mental mistakes as they continue to pass the ball over 60% of the time.
What to Know – Cincinnati Bengals
A season to forget for the last-place Bengals is three weeks away from coming to a close. Cincinnati enters the divisional matchup riding a five-game losing streak and have been held to under double digits in three of those losses.
Joe Burrow is out for the year, and backup Brandon Allen has been ruled out, so Ryan Finley will make his first start of the season and fourth career start Monday. On the season, Finley is 10-of-19 for 75 yards and two interceptions in backup duty.
Like the Steelers, the Bengals rushing attack has been held in check over the last month, with Bengals going over the century mark just once in their previous four games. That game was last week against the Cowboys, as third-string running back Trayveon Williams set season-highs with 12 carries for 49 yards.
Veteran wide receiver AJ Green hauled in six passes for 63 yards and the lone Bengals touchdown against Dallas. The Bengals passing offense has suffered a significant regression since Burrow went down with an injury in Week 11, eclipsing the 200-yard mark just once.
The Pick is In
Pittsburgh took care of business six weeks ago against Joe Burrow and the Bengals, and now with Burrow sidelined, the Steelers defense should hold the Bengals’ offense in check. Expect Pittsburgh to score in the high 20s and hold the Bengals to another low point total.
The Pick: Pittsburgh -12.5