NFL Monday Night Football: Bengals/Steelers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday Night Football features a rematch of the Steelers’ 36-10 victory at home over the Bengals on November 15th. Pittsburgh was a  6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 45 in that game.

That victory was the Steelers’ ninth victory in a row at the time. Ben Roethlisberger completed 27 of 46 passes for a season-high 333 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions to lead his team to the win. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow completed 21 of 40 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown pass in the losing effort.

Pittsburgh would go on to win two more games in a row for an 11-0 start. But the Steelers have since lost two games in a row after their 26-13 loss at Buffalo last Sunday night. Pittsburgh gained only 224 yards in that game, with the Bills outgaining them by 110 yards.

The Steelers are currently the second seed in the AFC playoff race with their 11-2 record. A loss would drop them to the third seed in the AFC since they would lose the head-to-head tie-breaker with the Bills after their loss to Buffalo last week.

Roethlisberger completed 21 of 37 passes for 187 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions in the loss. The veteran is completing 66.2% of his passes this season for 3292 yards with 29 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. 

Pittsburgh needed the eight-day break between games after playing three games in twelve days impacted by COVID-related rescheduling. The Steelers did not score more than 19 points in those three contests.

Cincinnati lost their fifth games in a row with their 30-7 loss to Dallas last week as a 3-point favorite. The Bengals outgained the Cowboys by 37 net yards by holding them to just 272 yards. A 78-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter helped Dallas overcome that edge to cruise to the victory in quarterback Andy Dalton’s return to Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals’ Brandon Allen completed 27 of 36 passes for 217 yards with a touchdown pass in the losing effort. Allen got knocked out of the game with a knee injury that will keep him from starting tonight. Ryan Finley gets the start in his absence with Cincinnati down to their third-string quarterback with Burrow out the year with his leg injury. The former Boise State quarterback has completed 10 of 19 passes for a 52.6% completion percentage this season. He has thrown for 75 yards with no touchdown passes and two interceptions. In his two years in the NFL, Finley has completed 51 of 106 passes for a 48.1% completion percentage. He has 549 yards but just a 5.2 yards-per-attempt average. Finley has two touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Cincinnati is 2-10-1 on the season, which is the third-worst record in the league. With the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars sharing 1-13 marks, the Bengals look destined to own the third pick in next spring’s NFL draft.

Linebacker Logan Wilson joins Brandon Allen in being the two players out for this game for Cincinnati due to injury. Safety and kick returner Brandon Wilson is questionable but did practice on Saturday. Defensive lineman Geno Atkins became the tenth player earlier in the week to either go on Injured Reserve with his shoulder injury.

Pittsburgh has one player out with guard Kevin Dotson dealing with a shoulder. James Conner is questionable with his quad. The Steelers have another six players either out the season or on Injured Reserve, including linebackers Bud Dupree and Devin Bush.

Pittsburgh is a 14.5-point road favorite with the total set at 40 at BookMaker. ESPN broadcasts the game with the kickoff at 8:15 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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