Steelers vs. Bengals Monday Night: NFL Picks

David Lawrence

Monday, September 16, 2013 6:20 PM GMT

Free NFL Picks for tonight's Monday Night Football battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. Get expert picks and predictions for the Week 2 finale.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a team that looked worse in Week 1 than the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost at home 16-9 to the Tennessee Titans but it wasn’t just that they lost a game, it was how they did it. There were sacks, there were injuries, there were turnovers, there were malfunctions in the passing game and there were defensive deficiencies. There was so many problems that many are wondering how much they can overcome. We’ll find out more on Monday Night Football as they visit the Cincinnati Bengals.

Feeling exotic? Take a look at our favorite NFL Betting Props for tonight's game.

The Steelers can win because…

It was just one week. Sure, the Steelers looked awful in their Week 1 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans but remember that it’s only one game. The Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens all lost their openers too before bouncing back in Week 2.

The Steelers are comfortable playing in Cincinnati where they have won three straight and 10 of their last 11. The Steelers will try to get back to business by moving the ball with short, quick passes and allowing their receivers to make some defenders miss. That might work as the Bengals gave up 242 passing yards to Jay Cutler and company in the opening week.

On defense, the Steelers unit is still rock solid. The burden will be on them to keep them game low scoring, so that the struggling offense is always within arm’s reach. If they can do that, the Steelers can cover the NFL odds and maybe have a shot to win outright.

Take a look at our NFL Picks: Steelers vs. Bengals Opening Odds Report

The Bengals can win because…

The Steelers offensive line is a gong show. Not only was Ben Roethlisberger one of the most harassed quarterbacks in the NFL last season, now he has to function without the services of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the rest of the season. On top of that, experts who make their NFL picks know that the Bengals field one of the best defensive lines in football. Roethlisberger was sacked five times by the Tennessee Titans; the Bengals should have no problems getting to Big Ben and ruining his night.

The other trouble with the Steelers is that they are about to go on the road without a reliable running game. They had 32 rushing yards at home in Week 1. Not only can their offensive line not open the holes, they don’t have any qualified to run through them. It’s hard to see the Steelers doing much on offense is this one.

Take a look at our NFL Picks: Steelers vs. Bengals Betting the Spread

Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction:

The Steelers are in a tough spot. Not only did they lost Pouncey last week, they also lost a Pro Bowl-caliber return man in LaRod Stephens-Howling and starting inside linebacker Larry Foote (he calls their defensive plays). On top of that, they are still without second-round pick Le’Veon Bell, who was supposed to be their starting running back, and they are still without last year’s MVP tight end Heath Miller. More importantly, they are going on the road to face a young, up-and-coming team that rarely gets an opportunity to be in the spotlight. The Bengals will relish being on ESPN under the Monday night lights and they are going to be primed for a bounce-back after a Week 1 loss.

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It’s all too much for the Steelers. Yes, they’re a veteran team but age won’t help them in this spot. The Bengals will shine in what will be a changing-of-the-guards type of performance.

Pick: Bengals -6.5 at 5Dimes