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Picking the Bengals is less about them and more about the Steelers

The Steelers have a lot of issues to deal with in Week 12, even as they get to face an awful Bengals squad. Here’s why I’m taking the points with Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby during the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are on track to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost an ugly one to the Cleveland Browns last week, but sit one game back of the second wild card berth. These two teams square off in an AFC North match with plenty of implications in Week 12.

The Steelers are currently a 6.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the point total set at 38 — the second lowest of the weekend. The Steelers are a -305 favorite while the Bengals are a +255 underdog. The Steelers are 5-4-1 against the spread and have gone over the point total three times this season. The Bengals are 4-6 ATS and have gone over the point total three times with one push.

Injury report

The Steelers look like they will be without running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. They also will be without center Maurkice Pouncey due to his two-game suspension. Given the importance of the center in any offense, that’s a big deal for figuring out my pick.

The Bengals wide receiver corps remains a problem. A.J. Green appears unlikely to play, and whether or not he returns at all this season is unclear. Additionally, Auden Tate is recovering from a concussion and has yet to return to practice.

Pick against the spread

The Bengals are a dumpster fire, but I just can’t lay nearly a touchdown with this Steelers team. The injuries have piled up, and Pouncey’s suspension is going to create problems for Mason Rudolph and the offensive line.

I don’t think the Bengals are going to win this game, but covering 6.5 is very much in the cards. It’s a battle of an awful team and then a team that is dealing with some tough circumstances. In this kind of situation, I’ll take the points every time.

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