The Pittsburgh Steelers will start the season on the road for the eighth time in a row when they play the Cincinnati Bengals on September 1st at 1:00 p.m. It’ll be the first time in NFL history that the two divisional foes met in week one.
Under head coach Mike Tomlin, the team has opened up on the road 10 times and are 5-4-1. They’ve won their last two week one games in 2020 against the New York Giants (26-16) and last season against the Buffalo Bills (23-16).
Last year though, the Bengals soundly beat the Steelers twice by a combined score of 64-20 en route to an AFC Championship. The worse of those two losses, a 41-10 annihilation of the Steelers, was in Cincinnati.
There are several storylines that make this an exciting week one match-up. The first one, and perhaps the most obvious one, is the Bengals trying to prove that they can surpass the Steelers as the top dog, or perhaps the top cat, in the AFC North after making the Super Bowl last season.
The last time the Steelers faced the defending AFC champions to start the season was in 2019 when the team lost 33-3 to the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots.
The next potential major storyline is a Kenny Pickett vs Joe Burrow quarterback match-up. Pickett has been compared to Burrow by some draft experts mainly due to their meteoric rise up the draft charts their final collegiate seasons.
Now Pickett would first have to win the starting job over Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky, but he is currently the betting favorite to do so.
Other than those stories, they will obviously be facing a key divisional rival way before either team is in mid-season form.
Under Tomlin, the Steelers have never faced the Bengals to start the season but have played the Cleveland Browns four times in week one and the Baltimore Ravens once. They are a combined 3-1-1 against the AFC North in week one with all three wins and the tie coming against the Browns and the lone loss coming against Baltimore.