The task is clear for Andy Dalton.  An undefeated record and facing the Steelers on the road, his team has a chance to take control of the AFC North with a win.  The Bengals signal caller has a 2-6 record vs division rival Pittsburgh, and that has to turn around if Cincinnati is to take that next step and become a legit title contender.

Dalton will look to Tyler Eifert in the passing game early and often.  The TE has 28 receptions and 6 touchdowns so far this season.

The key for the Steelers defense could be how successful they are when they blitz the QB. The Bengals have 19 pass plays that have gone for over 25 yards, as Dalton has rarely come under pressure.

Pittsburgh has title aspirations of their own, and welcome back future HOF QB Ben Roethlisberger to the starting lineup. ‘Big Ben’ is making first start since injuring his knee on Sep. 27th vs St. Louis.  Star WR Antonio Brown must be the happiest of all the Steelers, his and the entire offense’s production has suffered without the starting QB.

And while the Bengals rank 1st in the NFL in plays over 25 yards (21) the Steelers rank 2nd (20).  The Bengals defense will have to win the line of scrimmage with their talented front four, led by a healthy Geno Atkins.

With both teams making a habit of big plays on offense, and two defenses that are top ten in QB sacks, this has the shape of an entertaining game.

This first of two between these division rivals comes at a big time.  The Bengals are undefeated and coming off a bye week.  The Steelers welcome Roethlisberger back.  Will Dalton and the Bengals take control of the AFC North? Or will the Pittsburgh begin their march to title contention?

Game time- 10am Pacific Time


Line- Cincinatti +1


Luke Straub

on twitter@abso_luke_ly

Spark Sports NFL Analyst