CINCINNATI (vs Pittsburgh)
Cincinnati's offense has scored 32 touchdowns, with at least 3 in 80 percent of their games. Pittsburgh's defense, meanwhile has allowed ...

... only 23 touchdowns; only three opponents have scored 3-plus touchdowns against them, and that includes Sunday's game in Los Angeles, which was marred by the Steelers missing a bunch of defensive starters. Prior to the Chargers game, Pittsburgh had gone five straight without allowed 3 TDs, but a skeptic would point out that there were no top-level offenses in that stretch (Denver, Seattle, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit). So we're figuring 2-3 TDs in this one, with 3 touchdowns more likely. When these teams played at Heinz Field in Week 3 ...


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... the Bengals won 24-10; the offense scored 3 TDs in that game but finished with only 268 yards, its 2nd-lowest total of the season. ... Joe Mixon looks like the key player. He's been playing well, with touchdowns in a club-record 7 straight games. He's averaging 76 rushing and 19 receiving yards, with 11 touchdowns. He played well in the earlier meeting, running for 90 yards while averaging 5.0 yards per attempt. Pittsburgh tends to play good defense almost every year, but this group has slipped -- and especially against the run. D'Andre Swift ran for 130 yards at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and Alex Collins had a 100-yard game in that stadium as well. Mixon, it seems, should get a big workload in this game, and he'll probably have a good day. ... Joe Burrow threw 3 TDs in the earlier Pittsburgh game, but he didn't pass all that often. He completed 14 of 18 for only 172 yards, his lowest total of the season until throwing for only 148 last week. That's not how he's typically played this year. In his last six other games, he's averaged 319 passing yards, with 14 TDs. So chances are he'll be a lot busier in the rematch. Pittsburgh has struggled against the run, but it also has had breakdowns against quarterbacks. Justin Herbert passed for 382 yards and 3 TDs against them Sunday, and perhaps set that one aside, with T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick missing. But Justin Fields passed for 291 yards against this defense, and Teddy Bridgewater passed for 288 and a pair of scores. Early in the year, Derek Carr went for 382 yards at Heinz Field. Cincinnati probably will call a healthy number of running plays, and it might want to limit Pittsburgh's pass-rush opportunities, but Burrow seems to have a good chance at 270-plus yards and a couple of touchdowns. We'll call it an average matchup. ... Also an average situation for the pass catchers. JaMarr Chase has cooled off some recently, finishing with fewer than 50 yards in three straight games, but it would be a bold stroke to sit him down in favor of too many other receivers. Chase averaged 152 receiving yards in his previous three games, and he's been scoring all along, with 8 of the team's 22 touchdown catches. He caught 4 for 65 in the earlier meeting, with 2 TDs. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are good receivers, but they haven't been as reliable. Boyd has averaged only 46 yards per week, with 2 TDs. Higgins has averaged 56 yards, but with only 1 TD in eight games. ... C.J. Uzomah didn't catch any passes in the earlier Pittsburgh game, but he's developed into an above-average tight end. He's caught only 27 passes for 322 yards in 10 games, which is nothing special, but they use him in the red zone. He's caught 5 TDs -- 2 more than Boyd and Higgins combined. ... Evan McPherson looks like an above-average kicker. He's had a good rookie season, and he's been coming on recently, with 46 points in his last five games (he scored only 27 points in his first five). McPherson kicked 3 field goals from 50-plus last week. Pittsburgh has been below-average against opposing kickers, allowing 82 points in 10 games. ... The Bengals Defense came up big in the earlier game against the Steelers, with 4 sacks and 2 interceptions, but a repeat looks unlikely. Ben Roethlisberger attempted a season-high 58 passes in that game, and Pittsburgh has wisely moved away from letting him carry that kind of workload. He's thrown only 2 interceptions in his other 8 starts, with 17 sacks.