NFL Week 4: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Steelers -4, O/U: 45.5)

The Bengals are reeling after another tough road loss against the Bills last week. Only being blown out at home against the 49ers, the Bengals have lost their 2 road games by a combined 5 points. Andy Dalton is 4th in the league in passing with 979 yards, 5 TD’s and 3 picks while completing 63% of his passes. He’s been without AJ Green (who is expected to be out until at least week 7) but have had John Ross (13 catches for 292 yards, 3 TD’s) and Tyler Boyd (24 catches for 250 yards) step up to fill his shoes together. Their issues have been lack of Mixon’s rushing game (87 yards on 32 carries) and their rush defense which has given up 168.7 yards per game)

The Steelers are living a very similar story where they’ve had 2 close loses of 6 points combined yet were blown out by the Pats in week one. Shockingly, with Big Ben getting hurt in week 2, the Steelers have managed to stay in both games with their backup, Mason Rudolph. Mason has only completed 57% of his passes but has limited turnovers with 4 pass TD’s and 2 picks. Still, the offense has struggled mightily, averaging 204 yards through the air and 64 yards rushing with Conner only averaging 2.9 yards on 34 carries and 97 yards. The offense isn’t the only one struggling as the defense has given up 303 yards through the air and 139 yards on the ground per game. It has been an ugly start with seeing Big Ben go out with injury, Bell and Brown leaving the offense all in the same season. The Steelers are struggling in a way that could hamper them until the end.

This game will be absolutely nasty as both teams are looking up at the Pound Puppies leading the division…yes, you read that right, 4 weeks in, the Browns are leading the division. Take the Bengals to finally get a road win against a virtually hapless Steelers, Bengals cover in the under, Bengals 20-14.

Week 2: Thursday Night Football

Week one is in the books! It is statistically the hardest week to predict anything when it comes to the NFL and we made it out alive with 60% winners!  That caught me by surprise since I was only hoping to get at least around 53%.  The one real shocker was Buccs at the Saints.  Who knew the bearded one would go for over 400 yards in a shootout against Brees?  I know a ton of people were knocked out of elimination pools over it and well, we were caught too, figuring that the Saints covering a 10 point spread was cake.  The other disappointment was the Packers, which I already expressed in a previous post that had Rodgers been healthy all game, I think they would’ve covered that spread.

It’s been a long two and a half days without football but boy, do we have a great matchup tonight…

Baltimore at Cincinnati, 8:20 PM, NFLN (Bengals +1, O/U: 45)

The Ravens absolutely unloaded on the Bills last week and actually forced out Peterman, who was touted as having improved and looked good in the pre-season, for rookie Josh Allen. Now there was a lot of speculation that the Ravens were going to have a great game, but not this great.  Flacco was predicted to have a solid game partly due to having rookie Lamar Jackson on his heels for the starting role.  Flacco finished 25/34 for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Ravens had questions at running back as to who would lead the team and that seemed to be Kenneth Dixon who had nearly as many carries as both Collins and Allen combined. Lastly, what can we say about the defense? I think it’s back to being great.

The Bengals looked pretty decent against the Colts. Dalton went 21/28 for 243 and 2 scores while throwing a solo pick.  Dixon ran hard in his 17 carries for 95 yards and a score; his biggest run came in at 27 yards.  He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and even without the 27 yard gain; he averaged 4.25 yards/carry.  He’s looking to have a breakout sophomore year.  People weren’t sure what they’d see out of AJ Green since he’s turned 30 and all.  Well, he didn’t disappoint either.  He went off for 6 grabs and 92 yards and even was nice enough to throw a score in there, so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll have another consistent 1,000 yard year.  The Colts lack of running game made the Bengals defense look a little better than it is so look for this one to be a close game.

The Ravens will be tested by the fairly balanced Bengals offense but Dalton folds under big pressure defenses which is exactly what the Ravens are. Take the Ravens to win and cover on the road in the under, Ravens 20-17.

Fast 8

You can’t ask for anything better for the start of the season.  60% winners is the overall that I was hoping to get to for the season and to have it week one is special. Look out for a new feature to the blog, my “Fast 8” picks.  Every week, I’ll choose 8 games that I feel are absolutely worthy of your money on the game.  Think of these games as the best bets of the week or the fastest way to cash/a wining week.  Count this game in with the Fast 8 this week.

It should be another fun dynamic of my blog and another tool for you to #beatyourbookie ……good luck everyone!