Wild Card Game #1: Steelers vs Bengals NFL Betting

Posted by Aaron . on January 5, 2016 in

The Pittsburgh Steelers head to Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North teams’ third meeting of the NFL betting season. The Bengals are favored by 1 point as the Bengals expect to feature Andy Dalton at quarterback again. However, the Steelers just won in Cincinnati in Week 14, rolling 33-20 (when the Bengals had A.J. McCarron under center). The game kicks off at 8:15pm Eastern time on CBS.

Wild Card Game #1: Steelers vs Bengals NFL Betting

The Bengals were on the way to a first-round bye in Week 16, leading Denver 14-3. If they had just held that lead and won, they would have gotten that bye. Now, though, they have to play a wild card game, in a round that they have failed to survive for four consecutive seasons. In Week 16, the Steelers were going through problems, losing in an awful effort at Baltimore, as head case Ryan Mallett, of all people, led the Ravens over the Steelers. That’s why the Steelers had to wait to see if the Jets would lose to the Bills to find out if they would even be in the playoffs. Luckily, Rex Ryan whipped his Bills into a frenzy, and they held off the Jets (the three second-half interceptions from Ryan Fitzpatrick helped too, of course).

The big question in this game is Dalton. The Steelers knocked him out in Week 14 with a thumb injury, and he hasn’t played since. With backup A.J. McCarron at the helm, the Bengals have not been explosive on offense. They have been decent, but McCarron has not thrown for 200 yards or more in any of his three games as the starter. The Steelers held the Bengals to an average of 70 yards on the ground in their two meetings (a series split, as both teams won on the road). McCarron has found a way to bring tight end Tyler Eifert back into the passing attack. The Steelers do not have a good pass defense, so if Eifert and A.J. Green can get open and McCarron has time (and the accuracy) to find them, the Bengals could roll.

You can also watch online here.

Roethlisberger has shown a penchant for throwing some awful picks this year.

The Steelers will be paying close attention to DeAngelo Williams’ ankle, as that sidelined him during Pittsburgh’s win against Cleveland. Losing Williams would leave them one-dimensional. The passing attack in Pittsburgh can be terrific, but Roethlisberger has shown a penchant for throwing some awful picks this year, such as the two he threw against the Browns in Week 17.

The Bengals and Steelers have only met once in the postseason, a 31-17 wild card victory for the Steelers that saw Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer leave the game early with a torn ACL.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

I like Andy Dalton to come back and lead the Bengals to a win in this game. The Bengals’ defense has been more solid for most of the year than it was in Week 14, and having the starting quarterback will be a boost. I’m picking the Bengals, 27-20.