I'm a little shorter on time than I'd like to be, but you've heard me say that before. Excited for a football weekend that won't involve the Bengals ruining my Monday, and will include a trip to Huntington for the quintessential trap game for the Bearcats.
These will be quick.
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Bengals. As much as the Bengals/Steelers rivalry was the best, or at least most genuine, in the NFL for a while, I kind of like the fact that it now includes some new characters and a chance for some fresh storylines. And I actually think the Bengals have more than a puncher's chance.
In fact, if this line was a half a point higher, I'd take the road team.
If the Bengals win this game, we'll all talk ourselves into them heading into the Baltimore game on October 13th at 2-3. I'll be very on board with that.
But I don't trust the Bengals to run the ball effectively against Pittsburgh's defense, and as much as I'm not sure what it is specifically the Steelers are supposed to be good at on offense, I worry that they can open things up a little more than they did against San Francisco. The strength of this Bengals team is supposed to be its defensive front. If those guys show up on Monday night, we'll have a ballgame. If not, Mason Rudolph gets his first NFL win.
Your usual disclaimer when I go this route: I don't bet against the Bengals, and when I pick them to lose, I want to be wrong.
If I am, the Bengals will have buried the '19 Steelers for good, which would be fun.
Steelers 24 Bengals 20
Other pro football guesses include...
Houston (-4) over Carolina. The Texans have a quartet of wideouts that the Panthers can't cover. I'll give Kyle Allen the points and wish him well.
Cleveland (+5.5) over Baltimore. My guess is the Ravens win, but the Browns cover. My hope is the Browns can get to 2-2 so we can start convincing ourselves that a 1-3 Bengals team is in contention.
Tennessee (+4) over Atlanta. I don't love this week's slate, to be honest. I make this pick a little worried about how the Titans will protect Marcus Mariota, but comfortable with believing that Falcons are still too uneven a team to bet on when they're giving points.
College tilts of interest...
Bearcats (-3) over Marshall. Line has been a little fluid, as they say. I'll show some faith in Luke Fickell and his staff getting some stuff right during the bye week, UC getting some injured guys back, and Dez Ridder getting things figured out. I watched Marshall against Boise State. I was impressed. I wasn't overwhelmed. Cats get a win with UCF looming.
Cincinnati 31 Marshall 20
Nebraska (+17) Ohio State. No, the Buckeyes aren't losing to the Cornhuskers. Yes, I bet the backdoor swings open in Lincoln.
Oregon State (+3.5) over Stanford. The Cardinal have faced a gauntlet. The Beavers are rested. I'll hand over the points, and tell you that this week's college games are uninspiring. Next week though, should be a blast.
2019 NFL mark: 11-6
2019 College mark: 11-8