The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers are both 0-3 heading into a Monday Night Football matchup between the two AFC North rivals. Someone has to win in this Degen Game of the Week, with the Steelers a 3-point favorite in Pittsburgh.

Mason Rudolph Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Mason Rudolph drops back against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. (Image: Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The Steelers and Bengals are slugging it out in an all-out brawl to climb out of the AFC North basement. Everyone thought the Cleveland Browns would run away with the AFC North crown. After a slow and unimpressive start from Baker Mayfield, the Browns are 1-2, and about to face the first-place Baltimore Ravens (2-1) in Week 4.

The Ravens went to the playoffs last season once Lamar Jackson took over. The Ravens are the team to beat once again in the AFC North.

Monday Night Football: Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3)
Kickoff: 5:15 PT
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Point Spread: PIT -3
Over/Under: 44.5
Money Line: CIN +154 / PIT -171

Even when the Cincy Bungals were at their worst, the Bengals and Steelers always clashed in hard-fought battles. The Steelers are one of the numerous teams with a backup QB at the helm. Big Ben went down with a season-ending elbow injury. Backup Mason Rudolph kept the Steelers close in the last two games, which they lost by a combined six points.

The Bengals lost a one-point game to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. They were smushed by the visiting Niners in Week 2 by 24 points. In Week 3, the Bengals went up to Buffalo to take on the undefeated Bills. The Bills held on to win by four points to improve to 3-0, while the Bengals fell to 0-3.

RBs Wanted in the Cincinnati Area

Zac Taylor, in his first season as head coach, knew it would be an uphill battle with the Bengals. He has a chance to steal a road win against a team that spilled plenty of bad blood between the two.

“I certainly watched my fair share of games this offseason, trying to prepare myself for what’s in store in this division,” explained Taylor. “You get a pretty good sense of the feelings here. People aren’t shy when you’re out in the community in the offseason letting you know their thoughts on the Steelers.”

The Bengals only average 18 points per game because they have a horrendous running game that averages 42 yards per game. Yes, that’s not a typo. Actually, it’s 41.7 yards per game, but we wanted to round up to make Bengals fans feel a tad bit better about themselves.

It’s been up to Andy Dalton to carry the Bengals once again. Dalton has looked impressive, averaging 325 yards per game, despite getting sacked 11 times.

Lucky for the Bengals, the Steelers also struggle to put points on the board. The Steelers average only 16.3 points per game.

Steel Town Rat Race

The Cincinnati Bengals come into Monday Night Football as a 3-point dog against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but you figure the spread would swing the other way if this game were in Cincinnati. Both teams are desperate for a win. The loser slips to 0-4, while the winner won’t have a winless season looming overhead.

“Both of our backs are against the wall, which is kind of sad at this point of the season,” said Pittsburgh O-lineman, David DeCastro. “It will make for some good football, that’s for sure. We both need a win very bad.”

The Steelers don’t have much of a run game to brag about. It’s sad to think that the Steelers have a much more powerful running attack when they average only 64 yards per game. The Steelers are also facing a team that struggles to shut down the run. The Bengals run D allowed 168.7 yards per game in their first three losses.

QB Mason Rudolph knows he needs to be more aggressive down field against the Bengals. He was hesitant to attack the Niners secondary, which hurt the Steelers, and they fell behind. When he opened it up, he found JuJu Schuster-Smith for a 76-yard touchdown strike.

“We had some opportunity. We had some throws for shots,” said OC, Randy Fichtner. “If you don’t connect or throw them, it never really materializes. I’m not second-guessing Mason at all. We’re going to try to be aggressive as we can be from start to finish.”

“I’m an aggressive person,” said Rudolph. “That’s who I’ve always been at the quarterback position. It’s a little unlike me, but it’s mistakes you always look forward to cleaning up, and I think we already have this week.”