On Sunday September 15, the Baltimore Ravens became the first and only AFC North team to win a game so far this season. None of the teams in the division have more points scored than given up. Luckily for the AFC North, two more teams play on Monday night football. Either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh will fall to 0-2 early in the season, but one should get a win barring a 0-0 tie. While the loser of the game won’t be out of the division race, starting winless in the first two games is never a good sign. In fact, losing the first two games, leaves NFL teams with a 12 percent chance of making the postseason. Now let’s take a look at the quarterback match up.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have not displayed a running game for five weeks, but the reality finally set in after week one of the regular season. It’s going to be tough to produce any sort of ground game against the Bengals’ front seven. Therefore, the game may come down to Ben Roethlisberger making plays repeatedly.
It may sound weird, but the best way for Roethlisberger to help the Steelers is by trying not to do too much. Big Ben is going to need to play a flawless game and take what the defense is permitting. He just might find more success than holding the ball and looking for big plays.
Last week Roethlisberger had 191 yards passing on 21 complete passes. The offense was virtually shutout until the end of the game.
Andy Dalton has more pressure in this game than any other game in his career. Many pundits believe the Cincinnati Bengals should be the class of the division, but they have to prove it on the field. Even Ray Lewis says "the time is now" for the Bengals.
Offensively, it starts with Dalton and A.J. Green at wide receiver. They should combine with big plays all night long. Last Sunday, Dalton completed 26/33 passes and nine of those went to Green for 162 yards. It could be a lethal combination against a Pittsburgh team that struggles to score.
Cincinnati is currently a 6.5 point favorite over the visiting Steelers. Both teams are currently in the top six in total defense, so it's hard to see this game turn into a wide open scoring affair.