The Cincinnati Bengals are right in the thick of the AFC North race with their 1-1 record to start the year. They now head into a clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers in what's been, historically, a one-sided affair.
However, this new-look Bengals defense could be the difference on Sunday.
Bengals vs Steelers 2021
Cincinnati has been dominant on defense to begin the year, ranking No. 7 in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metric and No. 2 in run-defense DVOA. The Steelers, meanwhile, have had a lackluster rushing offense that ranks No. 28 in DVOA.
The Bengals' excellence in stopping the run game will be crucial to slowing down Pittsburgh's offense. Ben Roethlisberger is playing through a pectoral injury, and that could mean rookie Najee Harris will be relied on heavily. However, the Alabama product has totaled just 83 yards across two games.
This unit has already held David Montgomery and Dalvin Cook below 70 yards in both of their games so far. If they shut down Harris, that leaves a hobbled Big Ben to try and beat the Bengals through the air, which he's shown no signs of being capable of to this point.
This Week 3 matchup presents a golden chance for Cincinnati to get a leg up on their division rivals. Pittsburgh is currently a 3-point home favorite ahead of Sunday's game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.