The Ultimate Guide to Monday Night Football

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Published: September 16, 2013

Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)

Welcome to the Gridiron Experts Ultimate Guide to Monday Night. Whether you are a fan of the teams doing battle, have fantasy football or gaming implications, or you’re simply looking for creative ways to increase your alcohol intake during the Monday Night Football telecast, we’ve got you covered. Week 2 of the NFL season takes us to Cincinnati, OH as the Bengals play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Both teams enter this matchup at 0-1 after the Bengals let a double-digit lead slip away against the Bears in Chicago last week, while the Steelers were upset at home by the Titans. After splitting their regular-season series last year, with the visiting team winning each time, who will get back to .500 and who will fall into an 0-2 hole on the young season?

An already suspect Steelers offensive line was dealt a crushing blow on Pittsburgh’s opening drive of Week 1, when center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a knee injury that knocked him from the game and ended his season. With Pouncey gone, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times and the Steelers generated just 32 yards rushing as a team. That doesn’t bode well for Big Ben or anyone else in Pittsburgh’s backfield as they travel to Cincinnati on Monday night. With Le’Veon Bell still working his way back from a foot injury, the Steelers running back committee of Isaac Redman and recently resigned Jonathan Dwyer can be ignored by fantasy owners this week. Pittsburgh’s top receivers are worth a look for fantasy purposes, however, as Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders could be targeted often should the running game struggle again. Additionally, those in leagues that utilize two tight ends should monitor Heath Miller’s status ahead of kickoff, as the veteran could be making his return from December knee surgery and he’s always been a favorite target of Roethlisberger. Finally, the once-vaunted Steelers defense has lost some of its luster, but they still have playmakers and the Bengals did turn the ball over three times last week in Chicago.

The Bengals were a trendy Super Bowl pick during the preseason, including that of yours truly, but they’ll have to establish themselves against the old guard Steelers better than they did versus the Bears a week ago. Andy Dalton has a lot of new toys to work with on offense, most notably Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert, but while the third-year signal caller completed almost 79% of his passes in Week 1, he also threw two interceptions. The Red Rocket will need to clean that up if he’s going to lead the Bengals to a victory over Pittsburgh and ultimately to an AFC North title. Perhaps the smartest thing Dalton did last week was look early and often to all-world receiver A.J. Green, who caught nine of his 13 targets for 162 yards and two touchdowns. We projected Green to have the third best fantasy week among wide receivers, as he continues to be the focal point of Cincinnati’s offense, and I expect him to be the best fantasy option in this game. Aside from Green, the most interesting fantasy play on Monday night might be the Bengals defense. Despite a lackluster performance against the Bears a week ago, Cincinnati has a nasty defensive unit and I think the pressure they will be able to put on Roethlisberger will be the difference in this game.

My Prediction:

Pittsburgh managed just 195 total yards and one offensive score at home against Tennessee in Week 1 and I don’t expect them to fare much better in Cincinnati this week. Dick LeBeau’s defense should get up for the MNF spotlight, but the Steelers offense will likely have them at a disadvantage most of the night. Meanwhile, the Bengals will continue to work through Green, possibly include Bernard more in his second week as a pro, and will ride what I expect to be a dominating performance by their defense. I’m not crazy about giving almost a touchdown against a proud Steelers team in a primetime game, but I’ll take Cincinnati to win and cover the spread.

Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 13 

 

MNF Drinking Game

The matchup on the football field doesn’t have to be the only game in town on Monday night. Get a group together, grab your favorite beer and a bottle of liquor, and enjoy the Gridiron Experts MNF Drinking Game.

  • Take one drink for every third down conversion
  • Take one drink for every punt
  • Take one shot for every interception
  • Take one drink for every scoring play (touchdown, field goal, safety, etc.)
  • Take one drink every time you hear “Polamalu” (commercials included)
  • Take one shot every time Ben Roethlisberger is sacked
  • Take one drink for every A.J. Green catch
  • Take one shot every time Jon Gruden uses play-calling jargon during the telecast (for example, “flip right, double-X, Jet, 36 counter”)
  • Take one drink every time Jon Gruden uses a superlative (best, fastest, strongest, etc.)

Beer of the Week

Moerlein Over-the-Rhine Ale The Beer of the Week represents a tasty offering from the city/region hosting the week’s Monday Night Football contest. Feel free to incorporate the Beer of the Week into the MNF Drinking Game.

Moerlein Over-the-Rhine Ale – Initially intended to be called Moerlein Pale Ale, Over-the-Rhine (OTR) is a tribute to a 19th-century urban neighborhood that remains intact just north of Cincinnati’s central business district. Located within walking distance of the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company began distributing OTR in 2007. Different than your standard American pale ale, this beer uses a heavy dose of sweet and medium roast malts to temper the hoppiness, leaving a smooth, almost caramel-like flavor.

 

 

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