Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup Preview - November 20th, 2022
The Pittsburgh Steelers come in as 3.5 point home underdog as they play the Cincinnati Bengals at Acrisure Stadium Sunday. The last time these teams battled was Week 1 of 2022 when the visiting Steelers pulled off an upset on the road, beating the Bengals 23-20. Pittsburgh entered that game as a 7.0 point road underog. They had an implied win probablity of only 27% before pulling of a huge upset. The Game Total for that game was 44.5 and which the Under hit.
Pittsburgh's primary disadvantage this season has been their offense, which has ranked #25 in football with a low 303 yards per game. They've been so ineffective on offense in large part because of their ground attack, clocking in at #28 in the league with just 3.75 yards per carry. The most important component of a strong ground game is a good offensive line. If the line isn't opening up holes and creating space, it doesn't matter how good a team's running backs are. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, their line ranks #10-worst in the league in run blocking. Perhaps because they routinely failt to successfully establish the run, Pittsburgh has also lacked effectiveness through the air. They've scraped together a measly 6.48 yards per target, ranking the bottom 10 in football. This presents a decided disadvantage for Pittsburgh given that the Bengals run defense has thrived this year, allowing a mere 4.45 yards per carry (good for #10-best in the NFL). When it comes to their defense, the Steelers check in at #25 in football when it comes to total yards allowed per game. Opposing air attacks have notched 275 yards per game against Pittsburgh this year (#27 in football). Opposing ball-carriers have ranked #6 against them with 4.29 yards per ground attempt. This Steelers defense hits their peak effectiveness when it comes to defending opposing running backs, allowing them to complete just 73.3% of their passes (#6-lowest in the league). Pittsburgh's defensive effectiveness bottoms out when it comes to defending opposing wide receivers, who have scorched them for 192 yards per game (#3-worst in the league).
Cincinnati's biggest strength has been their offense, ranking #6 in the league with 364 yards per game. They've achieved offensive success largely through the quality of their passing attack, which is #5-best in football with 281 yards per game. This represents a particular advantage for Cincinnati given that the Steelers have struggled so much to stop the pass this year, allowing 8.12 yards per target (#10-worst in the league). In terms of their defense, the Bengals have ranked #7 in the league in total yards allowed per game. Opposing offenses have passed for 210 yards per game through the air against them (#6 in football). On the ground, opposing ball-carriers have ranked #10 with 4.45 yards per carry. Cincinnati has been most effective in shutting down opposing running backs, holding them to a 70% completion rate (#2-lowest). Cincinnati has been least effective in shutting down opposing tight ends, giving up a 80% completion rate (#4-highest).
Cincinnati Bengals Insights
The Sharp Model projects the Bengals to run the 8th-least total plays on the slate this week with 63.2 plays, accounting for their underlying tendencies and game dynamics.
The Pittsburgh Steelers safeties grade out as the 4th-best group of safeties in the league this year in regard to defending the run.
The Cincinnati Bengals have gone for it on 4th down a measly 15.7% of the time since the start of last season (6th-least in the NFL), which generally means less offensive volume, less TD potential, and lower offensive stats across the board.
Pittsburgh Steelers Insights
The Sharp Model projects the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 7th-most pass-heavy offense in the league near the goal line (in a neutral context) at the moment with a 60.2% red zone pass rate.
Pat Freiermuth has accumulated significantly more receiving yards per game (51.0) this season than he did last season (31.0).
The Sharp Model projects Pat Freiermuth to accumulate 0.26 receiving TDs this week, on average, ranking him in the 88th percentile among TEs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have hit the Team Total Under in 4 of their last 6 games (+1.95 Units / 31% ROI)
The Cincinnati Bengals have covered the Spread in 14 of their last 17 games (+10.55 Units / 56% ROI)
Tee Higgins has hit the Receiving Yards Over in 12 of his last 19 games (+4.45 Units / 21% ROI)