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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 14: Steelers Vs. Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Cincinnati Bengals: CIN -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

In last week's look-ahead line, the Bengals were favored by -3.5.  Apparently their narrow victory in Tampa Bay did more to hurt their stock value than the Steelers loss at home because when the lines reopened, it had moved down to -3. Currently there is some juice attached, but I'm not sure if we'll see it move off the key number.  61% of the the bets are on Pittsburgh so far.

Bottom Line

I've liked a lot of what the Bengals have done this year, but it always seems to be dampened by the Andy Dalton situation. I was foolish to trust him in a prime-time game earlier in the year, and he's had mixed performances in most of the other games on the schedule.  I think he should be ok in this one though because the Steelers D ranks near the bottom of the league, and 29th vs the pass.

On top of that, Pittsburgh's D ranks 24th inside the 20 and 25th on 3rd/4th downs. When you go on the road, these are not the kind of numbers you want to have, especially if you need to come up big in an important game.  Cincy's offense ranks near the middle of the pack, and it's complimented by a 7th best special teams unit.

On the flip side, Big Ben has led his offense to some gaudy numbers, but a lot of it has been inflated be a few big games, and they continue to get bogged down once they reach the red zone. The other big no-no for a key game is settling for field goals.

This has the makings of a crazy and unpredictable game given who we are talking about, but the Bengals have been much better pretty good at home, and have a clear advantage in the matchups. If Dalton can't put up enough points to win against this defense, you might as well write off Cincy for the rest of the year.

NFL Pick: CIN -3.

Read more: Week 14 picks.
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