Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Thursday Night Football Pick

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 20, 2008

This week’s Thursday NFL game definitely isn’t the most compelling matchup on the schedule in week 12.  In fact, it is in question what will be on the most amount of time in my house tomorrow night.  It’s not as if Steelers-Bengals is the only option I have to choose from.  I could choose to watch a very compelling college basketball doubleheader instead (Duke-Southern Illinois followed by UCLA-Michigan in the 2K Sports Classic).  Nevertheless, Steelers-Bengals is football, and thus I will at the very least be looking in on the game.  Let’s be frank though, it’s not as if this game requires much brainpower to make a selection.  The only questions here are margin of victory for the Steelers and will the game still be interesting enough to watch in the third quarter?

Cincinnati strangely enough actually does not have a loss in November, owing to their surprise win over Jacksonville, the bye, and their stellar non-loss to Philadelphia.  It seems fitting that the Bengals were involved in the NFL’s first tie in six years, being that they have grossly underachieved all season.  The Bengals were a mess from the get-go in large part thanks to Chad Johnson’s antics over the summer.  His open desire for a trade and unwillingness to report to camp had to be a distraction, plus his theatrics over legally changing his last name to Ocho Cinco had to take away from his focus on the field.  Carson Palmer’s injury and the flameout of Rudi Johnson (now in Detroit) didn’t help the offense either.  Cincinnati has shown effort in recent games, and they do have one bright spot in T.J. Houshmanzadeh (who is among the league leaders in receptions), but they have really bottomed out after their playoff appearance three years ago.  The fact that the Bengals (like the Eagles as well), ended up involved in a tie and couldn’t figure out a way to win that game speaks volumes about how much they’ve struggled this season.  

Pittsburgh on the other hand is coming off a big win over San Diego, one in which they had to fight to the end.  Despite two recent losses at home, the Steelers still sit at 7-3, and in 2nd place in the AFC.  The Steelers defense will not allow the Bengals to get anything going on the ground (especially after a less than stellar 47 yard effort from Cedric Benson last week), and they will harass Ryan Fitzpatrick all night.  Pittsburgh’s offense has not lit up the scoreboard, but they should be able to move the ball in this game with Willie Parker, and Hines Ward always steps up big against the Bengals.  The Bengals certainly remember his wicked block in the first meeting, and while they may say they’re motivated, it would really surprising if they try to be physical with Ward in the rematch, because that is a battle they will not win if they try.  Ben Roethlisberger has been toughing it out with a bum shoulder, and he will have to play through the pain again on a short week.  If Willie Parker runs effectively though, Roethlisberger will not be asked to do a lot to have to win this game.

Did I mention the game is at Heinz Field?  At night?  With a loud crowd?  Pittsburgh has a one game in the division now, and they want to keep it that way.  The Steelers schedule really beefs up down the stretch, including road games at New England and Tennessee, plus a home tilt with Dallas, so Pittsburgh knows they can’t afford to give this one away.  A win keeps the Steelers in bye position.  Cincinnati is playing for pride.  The Steelers blasted Cincinnati 38-10 on the road in the first meeting and they will do it again.  

The Pick: Steelers 31 Bengals 13.  It will not be compelling by the middle of the third quarter

*One caveat: the first two Thursday night games were upsets by the away team in wildly entertaining fashion.  There could be some Thursday night voodoo I’m unaware of that is causing this.  If Cincinnati wins, book the away team for every Thursday game the rest of the way.

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2 Responses to “Thursday Night Football Pick”

  1. Doug Baker said

    Isn’t it Heinz field? I guess if you are a Pittsburgh fan maybe it is Hines Field, as in Hines Ward! 🙂

  2. mizzou1028 said

    Oops 🙂 Perhaps a Freudian slip due to Hines Ward being on my fantasy team?

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