The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will end Week 2's NFL action when the two hit Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati for Monday Night Football on ESPN.
With both teams coming up on the losing end in their season openers, this game is not going to lack for intensity—both of these teams will be doing everything possible to avoid an 0-2 start.
The Steelers opener was especially putrid. Ben Roethlisberger and company mustered just nine points in their loss to the Tennessee Titans, and that came after the Titans gifted the Steelers two points on the opening kickoff.
For the entire game, the Steelers managed just 194 yards on offense.
Meanwhile, the Bengals looked far better than the Steelers, but Cincinnati still fell to the Chicago Bears, 27-24.
Still, there are no moral victories in the NFL. The Bengals and Steelers will enter this game on equal footing. Here is how I see it playing out.
There Will Be Less Than 75 Total Rushing Yards For the Game
If you are a big fan of ground games, this is not the game for you. We have two defenses well equipped to stop the run and two running games that figure to be less than dominant.
In Week 1, the Steelers offensive line played horrendous. That was a big factor in the Steelers picking up just 31 yards on 15 carries.
The Steelers offensive line is not going to have an easier time trying to block the Bengals' fearsome front, and the Steelers will once again struggle to run.
The Bengals didn't fare that much better on the ground in Week 1. Cincinnati managed just 63 yards on 21 carries.
Year after year, the Steelers feature a stout run defense. In Week 1, the Titans did gain 112 yards on the ground. However, they did so at an average of just 2.7 yards per carry.
A.J. Green Will Have Over 100 Yards Receiving
Yards in this game are going to have to come from somewhere. So, why not from A.J. Green? The third-year receiver is coming off of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, and he was stellar in the opener.
Against the solid secondary of the Bears, Green had nine catches for 162 yards.
The Bengals offensive line will provide Andy Dalton time to throw the ball. And when he does drop back, he will be looking first and foremost for Green. The 6'4" receiver will not let him down.
Bengals Will Win, 20-13
I expect a better effort from the Steelers in Week 2. This proud franchise isn't going to take the lackluster opening lightly, and the Steelers will come out focused and ready to work.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they are going to get mauled in the trenches.
As I discussed, Pittsburgh will not be able to run the ball, and Ben Roethlisberger will be too busy running for his life to do major damage.
The Bengals will play conservatively and pick their opportunities to strike deep. This will be enough to carry them to the win.