Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#255 Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5 vs.
#256 Cincinnati Bengals 40
Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 1:00pm EST
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#255 Pittsburgh
#256 Cincinnati
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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: November 24, 2019, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH, 1:00 PM ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers put a dramatic week in the rearview on Sunday when heading on a road trip to Paul Brown Stadium for an AFC North divisional showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals. Getting back to football feels like the right thing to do for a Steelers team dealing with the fallout from quarterback Mason Rudolph’s violent scuffle with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

The Steelers had a four-game winning streak snapped in that loss, which put their playoff hopes in great peril. Meanwhile, the Bengals have yet to win a game this season. They are coming off a 17-10 loss on the road to the Oakland Raiders.

Did Rudolph deserve a suspension?

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph started a fight last Thursday night, and Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett finished it.

There is no question Garrett should have been suspended for escalating things to the point where he used a helmet as a weapon to hit another player not wearing a helmet in the head. Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey also deserved a suspension for retaliating against Garrett. An argument could even be made that Rudolph deserved a suspension that would have kept him off the field for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

The Steelers will try to put a week filled with drama in the rearview for an AFC North divisional game. Some good news for Rudolph is the fact that he won’t have Garrett and a nasty Browns defensive front breathing down his neck in this game. The Bengals are a moribund team on both sides of the ball, but they have really disappointed on defense. The unit is averaging the least sacks per game in the league, and they are giving up more yards on the ground than any other team.

Even if injured running back James Conner sits out of the game, the Steelers should have no issues running roughshod over the Cincinnati defense with Jaylen Samuels in the backfield.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have the third-best turnover margin in the league. Their secondary has been a tremendous unit in a season filled with turnover and injuries. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is also showing himself to be worth the first-round draft pick the Steelers shipped to Miami earlier in the season.

The unit will be facing a Bengals team led by a rookie quarterback in Ryan Finley on a tanking roster. An important injury note is Rudolph likely not having leading receiver Juju Smith-Schuster on the field as he continues to heal up from a knee and head injury.

Will the Bengals win a game?

The odds of the Bengals winning a game before the season ends are dwindling by the week. They had a great opportunity to steal a win on the road against the Raiders last week, but they couldn’t come up with the crucial plays on offense when it mattered. The Steelers are next on the itinerary before the Bengals get a crack at the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

So there will be other opportunities for them to avoid a winless record.

Finley is expected to continue starting over Andy Dalton as the staff kicks the tires on the franchise’s future.

Turnovers have been the main killer for the Bengals this season. There is nothing worse than losing a game due to self-inflicted wounds. Such has been the case for a Bengals team with the third-worst turnover margin in the league.

Finley’s first order of business against a stingy Steelers defense is ball security. He has to avoid forcing errant throws and also understand when the pocket is compromised to the point where he needs to give up on plays. His dual-threat abilities as both a runner and passer make him a dynamic player, but he also needs to reel it in a bit and make better decisions.

The Bengals showed some defensive fight against the Raiders last week. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the team to come away with the victory. They’ll try to do better with no Smith-Schuster on the field for the Steelers on Sunday, which should be significant for the pass defense. Perhaps the team can load the box to stop the run while daring Rudolph to beat him through the air with someone else.

Finley will still be short of weapons as well. Wideout A.J. Green hasn’t looked any closer to returning, and Auden Tate missed practice on Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from a concussion.

Best Bets for this Game

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I’m expecting the Bengals to give the Steelers their best punch, similar to what they were able to do against the Raiders. The Bengals should be confident coming into this game at home after one of the team’s best defensive performances of the season. Rudolph has been erratic behind center since he was named the starter. He’s also coming into this game with No Smith-Schuster and probably no Conner as well.

But the situation is even worse for Finley on the other side of the ball.

Finley hasn’t played nearly as much as Rudolph, and he’ll be going head-to-head with a Steelers defense that ranks top-12 in yards allowed (328.3). There have also been far too many turnovers for the Bengals this season to trust them against one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses.

At this point in the season, the Bengals might as well keep Green on the sidelines. They’ve already been knocked out of playoff contention, and Green clearly still isn’t 100 percent. There’s no need in throwing him into the mix when the team looks to be tanking for a top draft pick.

If you don’t believe me, just watch and see what they do on Sunday. Give me the Steelers in this divisional tilt.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)

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There’s a good chance the Bengals defense will get up for this game considering the history between the two teams. Time is also ticking in their bid to win at least one game this season. Whether you’re a tanking conspiracy theorist or not, we can all agree that no team wants to go through an entire NFL season with no wins.

The Bengals defense will be boosted by the fact that the Steelers already have a limited quarterback behind center, but he’ll also have limited weapons offensive weapons in this meeting. I’m taking the under betting total in what will be a defensive slugging match.

Prediction: Under (39)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.