PITTSBURGH @ CINCINNATI | 10/14 | 1:00 PM EDT
The Pittsburgh Steelers are generally the group that sits atop the AFC North while others try to chase them down, but through 5 games this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are the team that’s sitting quite in top place.
When the Bengals (4-1) play host to the Steelers (2-2-1) on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, they could take early command of the department. However if the Steelers win, they’ll be just a half game out of very first location and right back in the thick of the race.
” I think both teams recognize this department is a lot tighter than it has actually remained in years,” Steelers guard Ramon Foster stated. “The teams that perform and do not hurt themselves will be the No. 1 seed.”
The Bengals are winning in various methods– capitalizing on turnovers, accumulating offense, pulling off late dramatics and grinding.
” Last week, it was the offense,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. “Today, it was the defense.”
The Bengals roared back from a 17-point deficit in the 4th quarter last Sunday for a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
The rally started with running back Joe Mixon’s 18-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the 4th quarter.
Then the defense stepped up in a huge method.
First it was protective end Michael Johnson, who alertly got his hands on a ball that went off a helmet and raced into completion zone for a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Then came a 19-yard fumble return for a rating by rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard off a Carlos Dunlap strip-sack to ice it with 2:37 staying.
PICK *PITTSBURGH +1.5
Cincinnati, with a quicker-paced offense that belatedly entered the 21st century, is legit. Yet the Bengals under Marvin Lewis have been owned by Pittsburgh. The firing-immune coach is 7-23 straight-up against the Steelers, who have failed to cover after just four of 22 puddle-jumper flights to Cincy. The defense got blitzed by Atlanta this season, and Pittsburgh’s offense is comparable to the Falcons’. The Bengals cannot count on more good luck that helped them dodge Miami last Sunday.