Divisional hostilities will be renewed on Saturday, January 9 at 8:15 PM EST when the Pittsburgh Steelers head into Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals in a Wild Card playoff match-up. The Steelers have been installed as a 3-point online betting favorite on the road, and while that might come as a surprise to some, you have to remember that the Bengals have one major injury concern casting a shadow over their playoff hopes.
And one for the . pic.twitter.com/rxwIZnP4Y9
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 7, 2016
Why bet on the Steelers to cover?
The simple answer to that question is all about the offense, as he Steelers have arguably the best group of wide receivers in the league. Combine that with the fact that the offense is led by a 2-time Super Bowl winning QB in Ben Roethlisberger and you are left with a team that can score early and often. Getting a quick score in this one may be the key to victory for the Steelers, as it would take the crowd out of the game, and also get the Bengals once again questioning their ability to win in the playoffs. We will have to wait and see if the DeAngelo Williams injury is going to keep him out of Saturday’s game, and if it does, we can pretty much expect to see an all-out air attack from Pittsburgh. The Steelers were in the top 5 in scoring this season with 26.7 PPG, and were just outside the top 10 on defense with 19.9 PPG.
Why bet on the Cincinnati Bengals to cover?
It was a great regular season for the Bengals, as they ended it with a 12-4 record and the AFC North Division crown in their back pocket. That will all be for naught if they once again stumble in the playoffs. There is certainly reason to be concerned, as they are going to have to head into the postseason with A.J. McCarron at QB instead of Andy Dalton. The thumb injury sustained by Dalton earlier in the year is apparently better, but still not good enough for him to start. If McCarron struggles, can Dalton be in any way effective if he is called into action? This is going to put a ton of pressure in the Bengals defense, as they are going to have to force turnovers and keep the Steelers offense off the field as much as possible. The Bengals are 2-2 with McCarron at QB as compared to 10-2 with Dalton.
These two teams split their season series, and it was the Steelers who won comfortably in their last visit to Paul Brown Stadium. That game saw the same QB match-up as we will see this weekend, so perhaps expect a similar result.