The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to rebound from one of their more feeble offensive performances in recent memory when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night in a matchup of two teams expected to vie for the AFC North crown. The Steelers are coming off a disastrous Week 1 loss to Tennessee in which they managed only 195 total yards and lost three players to season-ending injuries. The Bengals blew an 11-point, second-half lead in a 24-21 opening loss to Chicago.
Pittsburgh managed only 32 yards rushing and lost three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the season due to torn knee ligaments, prompting head coach Mike Tomlin to understate: "We've got a lot of work to do." The first step comes against a rugged Cincinnati defense that includes former Steelers linebacker James Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year who signed with the Bengals in the offseason. The Steelers have history on the side, having won 10 of their last 11 in Cincinnati.
TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Bengals -7. O/U: 40.5.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (0-1): Ben Roethlisberger became the 35th quarterback to surpass the 30,000-yard mark for his career but that was about the only offensive highlight for Pittsburgh, which did not get into the end zone until there were 83 seconds to play. The running game was non-existent, managing a paltry 32 yards, and there seems no easy solution in sight after news that rookie Le'Veon Bell will miss at least another month with a foot injury suffered in the preseason. The defense played well, holding Tennessee to 229 total yards, but Roethlisberger was sacked five times and Isaac Redman lost two fumbles to stall the offense.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (0-1): Third-year wide receiver A.J. Green was on his way to a career game and Cincinnati was having its way with Chicago after putting together three touchdown drives of at least 80 yards to take a 21-10 midway through the third quarter versus Chicago. Green finished with nine catches for 162 yards and two scores and Andy Dalton threw for 282 yards but was picked off twice. The running game did nothing, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis managing only 25 yards on 14 carries, while a defense that was among the league leaders with 51 sacks last season failed to register one and allowed the Bears to possess the ball for the final 6:38.
1. The Steelers, who haven't started 0-2 since 2002, are 7-1 on Monday Night Football under Tomlin.
2. Dalton has nine touchdowns and one interception in his last four home games.
3. Pittsburgh re-signed RB Jonathan Dwyer, who ran for a career-high 122 yards in a 24-17 win at Cincinnati last season.
PREDICTION: Steelers 21, Bengals 20