Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup Preview (9/26/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup Preview (9/26/21)

The last time the Bengals and Steelers met, Cincinnati was able to snap an 11-game win streak for Pittsburgh that dated back to 2015. That game was shocking, given Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ then-rookie quarterback, had already been ruled out for the season. Burrow is now healthy and ready to take on an elite Steelers’ defense, while Pittsburgh hopes to bounce back from an upset home loss to the Raiders. These two teams play in a brutal division with the Browns and Ravens, so every game matters in terms of keeping pace in a hopeful playoff bid.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Corner

The Steelers still have one of the best defenses in the NFL, even though the Raiders conquered them in Week 2, and Joe Burrow struggled under pressure last week. The Bengals have had a solid defense so far this season and can limit an underwhelming Steelers offense to minimal output this week. The over-under has been set at a low total, but I’d still lean towards the under in this game. Pittsburgh is just a 3-point favorite at home, and even if T.J. Watt is unable to play, their defense is good enough to force a couple of turnovers and cover the spread.

My predictions: Steelers win 23-17, Steelers cover, under 43.5 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, September 26th
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, PA
TV Coverage: CBS

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Live Stream

Where can you watch Bengals vs. Steelers online? You can stream this game and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Bengals vs. Steelers Free Online Now.

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Injuries

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tee Higgins (undisclosed) Q, OG Xavier Su’a-Filo (leg) Q, CB Trae Waynes (hamstring) Q, OG Keaton Sutherland (undisclosed) Q, S Ricardo Allen (hand) IR
Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral) Q, OLB T.J. Watt (groin) Q, WR Diontae Johnson (knee) Q, OLB Alex Highsmith (groin) Q, CB Joe Haden (groin) Q, ILB Devin Bush (groin) Q, DT Carlos Davis (knee) Q, DE Tyson Alalu (ankle) IR, DE Stephon Tuitt (undisclosed) IR, OT Zach Banner (knee – ACL) IR

Cincinnati Bengals Analysis

Joe Burrow looked great in Week 1 but struggled in Week 2 against the Bears as he threw three interceptions and put his team out of the game. When Burrow played the Steelers last season, he had a decent game with no turnovers, but he completed just 52% of his passes and was sacked four times. The Bengals’ offensive line has struggled to keep Burrow upright this season as he’s been sacked nine times this season. Burrow is still working his way back from his leg injuries from last season.

Cincinnati had hoped their offensive line would improve this season, but so far, not so good. Jonah Williams has struggled in allowing three pressures through two games. Riley Reiff, the offseason signing from the Vikings, has also allowed three pressures. Trey Hopkins has allowed two sacks per PFF while Quinton Spain and Xavier Su’a-Filo haven’t fared much better. With Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alalu on Injured Reserve and T.J. Watt injured, the pass rush for Pittsburgh won’t be as potent as it is at full strength, but Cameron Heyward and Melvin Ingram can still put pressure on Burrow.

This season, Joe Mixon has been a workhorse with 49 carries for 196 yards and a touchdown – that’s a whole season pace of over 400 carries that isn’t likely to continue. I had my doubts about Ja’Marr Chase’s transition as a rookie after he didn’t play any football in 2020, but he has seven catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. Tee Higgins has led the team with 15 targets, but he might miss on Sunday, and that would leave additional targets for Chase and Tyler Boyd.

Cincinnati’s defense is better than it has been as of late, and they currently rank tenth in the NFL with just 22 points per game allowed. Trey Hendrickson, the team’s big-ticket offseason addition, has nine total pressures so far. In contrast, Mike Hilton and Chidobie Awuzie had provided some consistency at cornerback in the wake of the loss of William Jackson in free agency. The Bengals haven’t exactly faced any elite offenses yet, but their defense has performed admirably and should do well against an underwhelming Steelers offense.

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Samaje Perine
WR1: Tee Higgins
WR2: Ja’Marr Chase
WR3: Tyler Boyd
TE1: C.J. Uzomah
TE2: Drew Sample

Pittsburgh Steelers Analysis

It’s been an ugly start to the season for Ben Roethlisberger as he has completed just 62.5% of his passes on 72 attempts for 483 yards and two touchdowns to 1 interception. That’s a putrid touchdown rate of just 2.8%. For reference, his career touchdown rate is 5.0%, and he was at 5.4% last season. There’s likely to be some positive regression throughout the season, but the 39-year-old quarterback cannot lead a top offense at this point in his career.

The Steelers offensive line hasn’t supported Roethlisberger the way he needs with his limited mobility as four of the five starters from last season are no longer with the team. Dan Moore Jr., a rookie fourth-round pick, has been surprisingly solid in his two starts, but the interior trio of Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, and Trai Turner has struggled mightily. If the Steelers offense is going to improve, their offensive line has to find more consistency.

Najee Harris has averaged just 3.2 YPC with just 26 carries for 83 yards with poor blocking in front of him. Harris has played 100% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps, and while his efficiency hasn’t been there to start the season, he flashed his elite upside on a 25-yard touchdown reception last week. Diontae Johnson leads the team with 22 targets, but if he cannot play this week, we’ll see a lot more targets for JuJu Smith-Schuster. I had high hopes for Chase Claypool in his sophomore season, but he has just six catches for 115 yards so far.

Pittsburgh has been successful on the back of its defense so far, mainly due to its two elite pass-rushers in Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt. Heyward has 14 QB pressures so far this season, while Watt has three sacks. Melvin Ingram will be relied on as more of a full-time player in this game if Watt cannot play through his groin injury. Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton, and James Pierre have been a solid trio of cornerbacks so far, along with the elite safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Najee Harris
RB2: Benny Snell Jr.
WR1: Diontae Johnson
WR2: Chase Claypool
WR3: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE1: Eric Ebron
TE2: Pat Freiermuth

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Daily Fantasy Picks

This projects as one of the lowest-scoring games of the week, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be any DFS value. Najee Harris is still worth a look at a lower price tag given his level of involvement in the offense. Joe Mixon is even cheaper on most platforms and should be considered a high-value play, particularly for cash lineups. If Diontae Johnson cannot play, my intrigue in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool will go up significantly. The same goes for Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd if Tee Higgins is unable to play. Those wide receivers are similar evaluations as Smith-Schuster and Boyd have lower upside but are decent PPR plays while Chase and Claypool are the higher-upside players. I wouldn’t play either of the quarterbacks in this matchup, but the Steelers defense is worth a look against Burrow.

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I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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