We easily cashed the 'over' on our Nelson Agholor play Sunday night, and I’m looking to parlay that into another victory here on Monday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.
Antonio Brown is a huge question mark for the Steelers on Monday against their divisional rival. Brown is the transmission of this offense. If Le’Veon Bell is the engine, Brown is the gear that shifts into higher and higher gears as the game goes along. His presence in this offense is vital, but without him the Steelers will just have to look towards Bell more, especially in the passing game.
Brown’s presence does help open up things for Bell underneath and in space, but if Brown plays or not the Steelers will look towards Bell in the passing game. Bell has been a pass-catching monster over the last three weeks, catching 26 balls for 177 total yards. That’s going to continue regardless of Brown’s status. If AB is out there, he’ll be playing at less than 100 percent, but at least he can serve as a decoy for Bell to rack up yardage through the air. If Brown misses, Bell will just have to line up as a receiver more, which helps this play too.
What also helps this play is the Bengals’ defense against running backs. They have been gashed by Bell once this season for 134 rushing yards and 58 receiving in Week 7, and I have no doubt that Bell can do it again tonight. The Bengals’ defense has also been pretty bad at stopping running backs from catching passes. They are giving up over 45 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs, and Bell is no ordinary third-down back.
Cincinnati has also allowed opposing backs to post 68 receptions this season, which is tied for second most in the league. Running backs have been targeted in the passing game 94 times against this Bengals defense, and if Bell is getting eight to 10 targets in the passing game tonight, 38 or more yards should be gravy.Free NFL Pick: Over 37½ (-125)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes