Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The epic rematch! Well, not really. Of course, the Bengals will be without Vontaze Burfict — now known to the league as “The Villain.” The league suspended Burfict for three games, due to his hit on Antonio Brown in the playoff game. How ironic. Ryan Shazier still gets to play, even though he knocked out Giovani Bernard in that same game, with what is now an illegal hit.
Classic move by the NFL, to keep their prima donnas (sorry, I meant their money makers) healthy for as long as they can. The Bengals are going to show up with something to prove this time. Not the typical, “we’re the best in the AFC North” thing, but with the mentality that the playoff game was a fluke and the Bengals are the team to beat in the AFC.
The Steelers are going to get Le’Veon back, but they’ve also lost Martavis Bryant for the season. Bell is coming off a serious injury and I don’t believe he will be the same person he was before the injury by Week 2. The same can be said for Sammie Coates, the presumed starter with Bryant out. I don’t believe Coates will be that big of a factor that early in the season.
Even with Burfict out, the Bengals have the edge, in my opinion.
Prediction: Bengals win
Next: The Champs