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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC * NE at NYJ * STL at CLE
* ARI at PHI * DET at CHI * NO at ATL * TEN at CAR
* UPDATED * BUF at DAL JAC at IND * PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

Prediction: PIT 24, CIN 20

Players to Watch: A.J. Green

Update: Jermaine Gresham was out last week because of his hamstring and had only some work on Wednesday until returning for limited work on Friday. He is expected to play but won't be completely healthy. He is a big risk to rely on this week.

The Steelers hit the road with a 6-3 record that lands them half a game behind the Ravens and the Bengals with a bye waiting on the other side. The Steelers are only 2-2 on the road and come off a sore loss to the visiting Ravens. The Bengals are 6-2 and 2-1 at home with a five game winning streak.

The Steelers swept the Bengals last year and won in Cincy 27-21.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 7-35 10 @CIN -
2 SEA 24-0 11 Bye -
3 @IND 23-20 12 @KC -
4 @HOU 10-17 13 CIN -
5 TEN 38-17 14 CLE -
6 JAC 17-13 15 @SF -
7 @ARI 32-20 16 STL -
8 NE 25-17 17 @CLE -
9 BAL 20-23      
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 270,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 40,1 - -
TE Heath Miller - 60 -
WR Antonio Brown - 60,1 -
WR Jerricho Cotchery - 40 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Losing last week hurt and a loss in Cincy would really deal a blow to the Steeler's chance to win the division if they can ever get ahead of the Ravens in the standings anyway. The good news? This may be the toughest game left on the schedule and other than the trip to San Francisco, the remaining slate is not only nice - it is easier than the divisional rivals. A win this week makes the bye feel a lot more relaxing.

QUARTERBACK: This has been a good year for Ben Roethlisberger with 15 touchdowns against eight interceptions and at least one score in all but one game. Big Ben has topped 280 passing yards in six of nine games played including in every away game other than Houston.

The Bengals have only allowed one passing score in a home game but with Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Painter there - so what? The Bengals have not faced many decent offenses this year so mere stats do not tell the whole story. Safest bet here is one or two passing touchdowns and moderate yardage but Big Ben could do more.

RUNNING BACKS: While Rashard Mendenhall has been more effective lately, that's been limited to home games. He has never rushed for more than 45 yards in any away game and scored only once. He heads into Cincy where the Bengals have been very stout against the run and no player has rushed for more than 66 yards there. But the Bengals have given up six rushing touchdowns and Mendenhall could wind up at the one-yard line with a goal line plunge or two. Figure on meager yardage but a chance for a rushing score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Hines Ward left the Ravens game with a concussion and never returned. I will count him out this week until he is cleared and even then - he has almost no fantasy value. Emmanuel Sanders missed last week with a sore knee and a death in the family. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday and will miss a few games. Jerricho Cotchery stepped in for Ward and had a season high of three catches for 44 yards.

This offense now revolves around Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Wallace has been a stud and scored in six different games while topping 100 yards four times so far. He never has a bad game. May be a good game, or a great one but never a bad one so far. Brown has really stepped up in recent weeks with two efforts over 100 yards in the last three weeks and he finally scored in week two.

They now face a secondary that has been great at home where no wideout has scored against them or had more than 58 yards but again - SF, BUF and IND is not a great sample and the Steelers are likely to throw much more than run. Wallace is a must start in every game and Brown could show up here as well. I'll credit the other passing score to Brown but the confidence is much lower than with Wallace.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller continues to grow into a more prominent role and his last two games posted 7-85 (NE) and 5-73 (BAL). He should end up with decent yardage here as well against a defense that has played very few receiving tight ends. If Brown doesn't end up with the score, then Miller should turn it in.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 11 21 2 16 17 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 10 9 12 3 4

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 27-17 10 PIT -
2 @DEN 22-24 11 @BAL -
3 SF 8-13 12 CLE -
4 BUF 23-20 13 @PIT -
5 @JAC 30-20 14 HOU -
6 IND 27-17 15 @STL -
7 Bye - 16 ARI -
8 @SEA 34-12 17 BAL -
9 @TEN 24-17      
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton - - 210,2
RB Cedric Benson 70 - -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30,1 -
WR A.J. Green - 60 -
WR Jerome Simpson - 40 -
WR Andre Caldwell - 40,1 -
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals have been more than impressive with their five game winning streak and top notch defense. The rookies in the offense are shining and what they get to find out now is if that is for real. The upcoming schedule will be brutal and very different from the first half of the season. The Steelers and Raven both will present far better defenses than they have seen thus far. Let them plow through the next month with more than two wins and this team is going to be scary good now and in the future.

QUARTERBACK: The Red Rifle scored in every game except when the 49ers showed up - the best defense so far they have faced. Andy Dalton has been red hot in recent weeks though with two scores in Seattle and three more in Tennessee. But the Steelers have held most opponents to one or two scores and moderate yardage if that much. Five opponents failed to crest 200 passing yards and that includes Tom Brady.

The running game should be of less help this week so Dalton will have to throw. He is at home and has been very good as of late so two scores and decent yardage are not out of the question here.

RUNNING BACKS: After serving his one game suspension, Cedric Benson was back at work in the Titans matchup and rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries so the vacation did not change him. Benson only has two scores on the season and the only one since the opener came against the Colts which barely counts.

The Steelers have been a bit weaker against the run this year but the Bengals are content with Benson churning out the 60 or 70 yard games without a score and no receptions. If this offense were to get a dynamic runner, it would vastly upgrade the entire effort.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This week will be telling for A.J. Green who has impressed since the season opener and who has five touchdowns on the year and just one bad game - against the 49ers defense. Green is on a pace to score ten touchdowns and end with 80 catches for 1200 yards = amazing marks for a rookie on what was considered a bad team. Jerome Simpson has scored in each of the last two games though both had less than 45 yards in the game and he's really disappeared when the secondaries improve. Against the 49ers, he ended with only one catch for six yards while Green settled for 29 yards on four receptions.

This week will be a good measurement of just how far along Green has come as a rookie going against a secondary that has never allowed any receiver to gain over 88 yards and just six have scored on them. When a wideout has scored on them, it has almost always been the #2 guy so figure on Simpson or Andre Caldwell as more likely to score than Green who will be blanketed. Green is still a worthy start from his potential but should end up with a lesser game this week.

TIGHT ENDS:Jermaine Gresham was out last week with a bad hamstring and Donald Lee took his place to gain 49 yards on three catches. Colin Cochart had a touchdown on only his second catch of the season. I like the chance for a second score to end up with a tight end and will pencil in Gresham but update if he cannot play. The yardage attached won't be much and will not remove the risk of him actually scoring or not.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 18 28 9 17 11 9
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 4 15 2 11 4 19

OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC NE at NYJ STL at CLE
  BUF at DAL JAC at IND PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

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