Wednesday, November 9, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (Week 10, 2011-12)

The early spread on this game is Steelers (-3). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for in pick ’em leagues. All lines from Y! Sports and injury reports from CBS Sports as of November 9, 2011. Always update yourselves with injury lines because they’ll change throughout the week. Please note that ATS means “Against the spread.”

*My* Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Picks Only)
Cincinnati Bengals 4-4
Pittsburgh Steelers 4-5

Key Injuries
DB Adam Jones, LB Rey Maualuga, TE Jermaine Gresham, NT Chris Hoke, C Doug Legursky, LB James Farrior, LB LaMarr Woodley, WR Arnaz Battle, WR Emmanuel Sanders (Out)

Keys to the Game
  • How will Andy Dalton handle this situation?
  • Are the Bengals for real? How will Cedric Benson perform?
  • The Bengals are 7-1 ATS. Are they underrated?
  • How well will the Steelers play on the road?
  • Can the Steelers avoid turnovers?
  • Will the Bengals’ defense hold Pittsburgh to fewer than 20 points?
  • Can the Bengals contain Mike Wallace? How will A.J. Green fare?

Summary
The Cincinnati Bengals are 7-1 ATS. They’re also 4-0 ATS as underdogs. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-5 ATS while they’re 1-3 ATS in away games.

I’m not sold on this being an automatic win for the Steelers. They’ve had difficulty against teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars this season. The Steelers have a turnover differential of (-11) on the season. That’s easily the worst mark in the NFL. The Bengals are (+4).

Both teams have top-four defenses. However, the Steelers don’t create turnovers. On the other hand, Ben Roethlisberger is prone to turnovers. I’m taking the leap of faith and saying that the Bengals are a legitimate contender in the AFC North playoff race.

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
Straight: Cincinnati Bengals 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Stat sources:

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