Pittsburgh laid perhaps the biggest pile of any NFL team in their opener last Sunday, dropping a, 16-9, loss at the hands of the Tennessee Titans at home in Heinz Field. What makes the Steelers’ 195 total yards, five sacks allowed and two turnovers performance on offense even worse is that they lost starting center Maurkice Pouncey to a torn knee in the loss. Now what was the Steelers weak link, their offensive line, has a huge gapping hole in the middle of it.The Bengals were in a defensive fistfight with the Chicago Bears last weekend, but two Andy Dalton interceptions and not enough late fourth-quarter magic cost them a chance at the win, going down 24-21. If there’s anything the Bengals should hang their heads about in the opener it would be the defense, which didn’t play bad, but also only created one turnover and got zero sacks and limited pressure on a sketchy Bears offensive line.Oddsmakers have to set the opening point spreads based on public perception sometimes, and right now the public is breaking their ankles jumping off the Steelers bandwagon. As a result this usually tough AFC North matchup opened with the Bengals as surprisingly high 7-point favorites at home, and most of the early money is balanced so the number has really only moved the hook in either direction (-6.5 or -7.5) depending on how much juice you’re willing to pay to move the number.The under total opened at 41 and has held firm in the early part of the week.Ben Roethlisberger is a tough dude, but the way he was battered around by the Titans cannot become a regular scene, and with Pouncey out now so many people have their doubts. Just 32 yards on 15 carries is not Steelers football, I don’t care what era you’re from, but with LaRod Stephens-Howling joining rookie Le’Veon Bell on the injured list, Pittsburgh may just have to let Big Ben chuck it around the yard on Monday in order to have any hopes of moving the ball.
Date and Time: September 16th, 2013, 8:30 pm ET
LOCATION: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
These AFC North rivals split their two match-ups last season with the road team surprisingly coming out on top on both meetings; the ‘under’ cashed in both contests. The Steelers have won each of their L/3 trips to Cincinnati as well as seven of the L/10 overall skirmishes.I was on the Bengals last week when they stormed Soldier Field against my beloved Bears, and though they ultimately ended up choking the NFL odds cover away, I have no qualms whatsoever about jumping back on board their bandwagon again in this one. The Steelers are a team on the decline while the complete opposite rings true for the orange and black. I’m very bullish on what Cincy can do in 2013. With James Harrison licking his chops to get at his former team and the favorite 5-1 in the L/6 meetings, look for the Bengals to tally their first win and cover of the season in front of a nationally televised audience.