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Steelers-Bengals Pregame Primer: Key to Win, Picks, Prediction and More

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Jaylen Warren Steelers Training Camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to get their 2022 season turned around, as they come out of their bye week well-rested and recovered to face a New Orleans Saints team that has been struggling just as much as they have been.

Gameday: Steelers vs Bengals, 4:25 p.m.

KEY TO VICTORY

Last week’s bold prediction has become this week’s key to win. Kenny Pickett didn’t throw an interception over the course of the game for the first time in his career in the Steelers’ Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints. If they want to stay in the win column, that will be essential this week. The conditions are going to make it much more difficult, with gusting winds and wind chills in the teens predicted for game time. It will be absolutely critical that Pickett finds a way to keep the football in this one.

BOLD PREDICTION: JAYLEN WARREN HAS A BIG DAY

Something tells me Jaylen Warren doesn’t mind the cold that much. Warren is a North Carolina native, but played most of his college football in Utah. He even attended Snow College. Of the Steelers’ two backs, I think his straight-ahead style is probably better suited to cold and possibly slick conditions on chewed-up grass at Acrisure Stadium. Warren has seen his touches rise in the last two weeks, and there have not really been diminishing results. He had six carries for 50 yards in Week 8 and then nine for 37 in Week 10. With throwing the ball likely not a priority, he could get 10 carries against the Bengals

OVERLOOKED MATCHUP: CORDELL VOLSON vs. CAM HEYWARD

T.J. Watt was all over the field wrecking plays in that first Steelers game against the Bengals, and it was Minkah Fitzpatrick making plays in the back end, but the interior of the Steelers defensive line ate up Bengals youngster Cordell Voslon in that game, too. Cam Heyward flattened Volson on the first play for a sack of Joe Burrow. It wasn’t just pass defense dominance, either. Joe Mixon averaged only three yards per carry in that first contest.

Watt and Alex Highsmith are going to get some pressure on Burrow from the edge, but the key to stopping the run and keeping Burrow bottled in the pocket is the Steelers’ two down lineman winning against the Cincinnati interior.

PREDICTION

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play a better game than their first outing against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it won’t be enough to lead them to victory. The Bengals are well-rested, coming off a bye week, and Joe Burrow has been playing like a completely different quarterback than the one the Steelers saw in Week 1. He’s been one of the best players in the entire league this season, and coming off a bye, there’s no reason that shouldn’t continue.

The absence of star receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the one area that does give pause, but the Bengals have plenty of offensive weapons, and the Pittsburgh secondary is without Ahkello Witherspoon, and I don’t expect Fitzpatrick to be at the full height of his abilities eight days after an appendectomy.

Bengals 27, Steelers 24

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Pittsburgh +3.5 (-110)

Over 39.5 (-106)

Jaylen Warren over 23.5 rushing yards (-110)

Bonus Pick: Over four total touchdowns (+116)

Last week: 3-0: Steelers +1.5, Under 39.5, Jaylen Warren over 24.5 rushing yards (-113)

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