Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
This is the game that I have the least strong opinion on. The Bengals rank 5th in rate of moving the chains differential on the season, while the Steelers rank 9th, but the Steelers have been far better offensively in the 12 games where Ben Roethlisberger has led them in pass attempts, as opposed to their other 4 games when he was hurt. In those 12 games, they moved the chains at a 75.00% rate, as opposed to 63.64% in those other 4 games. On the flip side, the Bengals will be without starting quarterback Andy Dalton for essentially the 5th straight game, as he went down with a broken thumb early in the Bengals’ week 14 home loss to the these Steelers. In their last 4 games, they’ve moved the chains at a mere 70.25% rate, as opposed to 76.19% through their first 12 games.
This line would have seemed too high if it was a field goal because the Bengals are essentially at full strength aside from Dalton and have arguably the most talented roster in football top to bottom. However, at 2.5, I’m going to take the Steelers. I have Pittsburgh winning by a field goal exactly. AJ McCarron is just too limited of a quarterback to be picked to beat a strong team like the Steelers, as talented as his supporting cast here. The Steelers, with Roethlisberger, have one of the best offenses in football and their defense is solid. It’s a no confidence pick though.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -2.5