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5 Crucial Stats, Plus Players To Watch

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Life without Joe Burrow begins Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first of seven games without their franchise quarterback.

Backup Jake Browning will try to become just the sixth quarterback in Bengals history to win his NFL starting debut, and he’ll have to do it without one of the top offensive weapons — wide receiver Tee Higgins will miss his third consecutive game.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

The Bengals have won four of their last five against the Steelers, which is their most successful stretch against their division rivals since winning six in a row from 1998-2000.

A victory Sunday would give head coach Zac Taylor a 5-4 record against Pittsburgh while also keeping alive his team’s dwindling postseason hopes.

5 Bengals-Steelers Stats From Inside Edge

  • The Bengals have scored on 66.7% of their drives in the first quarter since Week 8 — best in the league.
  • The Pittsburgh defense has allowed scores on 55.6% of opponent drives in the first quarter in that span — worst in the league.

Analysis: Points are expected to be at a premium on Sunday, so getting some early will be especially important. Adding to the urgency is the fact that the Steelers are 4-0 this season when scoring first and have won 13 in a row when getting the opening points dating back to 2021.

The Bengals are 3-1 this year when leading the first quarter and 22-10 during the Zac Taylor era. Enabling Browning to play with a lead in his first NFL start obviously will increase the team’s chances of snapping its two-game losing streak.

  • Steelers running backs have rushed for 10 or more yards on 14.4% of their 208 carries this season — second-best in the NFL.
  • The Bengals have allowed 10+ yards on 12.9% of carries by opposing running backs — third-worst in the league.

Analysis: Whether you go by percentage of explosive runs or the total amount allowed, the Bengals are bottom-feeders this year. The return of Sam Hubbard will be a huge help, especially on plays the Steelers run to the other side. So many of the explosive runs Lou Anarumo’s defense has allowed this season have come on cutbacks, and Hubbard isn’t a player the Bengals have to worry about losing backside contain.

Last week against the Browns, the top defense in the league, the Steelers still managed five rushes of 10+ yards, their third-highest total of the season.

Pittsburgh’s passing game has struggled all season, so keeping the run game in check should be a huge focus for the Bengals.

  • The Bengals are 4-0 when possessing the ball longer than their opponent this season — best in the league.
  • The Steelers have allowed an average time of possession of 34 minutes and 14 seconds — worst in the league.

Analysis: While Cincinnati’s success rate has been high when leading in time of possession, the occurrences of it are down. The Bengals did it 21 times in 2021-22, but just four times so far in 2023. Those four games were the victories against the Rams, Cardinals, Bills and 49ers.

A big reason the Steelers have been so bad at possessing the ball is that they struggled to keep drives alive with one of the worst offenses in the league. In the only two games where they’ve led time of possession, they’ve barely done so, outpacing the Raiders in Week 3 by six seconds and the Packers in Week 10 by 66 seconds.

Pittsburgh’s strong running game and the Bengals’ inability to stop the run could flip the script on Sunday. If the Bengals are able to win time of possession again, it will mean they either did a good job of slowing down Harris and Warren, or they did a bad job of hanging onto the ball. One of the rare times they lost a game in which they had an edge in time of possession was the 2022 opener when they committed five turnovers against Pittsburgh.

  • The Steelers have a third-down conversion rate of 46.3% in the fourth quarter this year — tied for third-best in the league.
  • The Cincinnati defense has allowed a third-down conversion rate of 52.8% in the fourth quarter this season — worst in the league.

Analysis: The Bengals have struggled to get off the field on third no matter what quarter it is. Opponents are converting 43.8% of third downs this season, ranking Cincinnati’s defense 28th in the league. The fourth-quarter rate of 52.8% is especially troubling. Since Week 8, the Bengals are allowing 8.0 points per fourth quarter, which ranks 30th.

With rookie Jordan Battle expected to make his first start at safety and starting cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt ruled out with a quad injury, third-down defense is going to be a major factor in determining which team wins.

  • Games involving the Steelers have gone Under in all six of their contests against bottom-10 pass defenses.

Analysis: This says it all when it comes to summing up how bad the Pittsburgh offense has been. Even when facing some of the worst pass defenses in the league, the Steelers still struggle to put up points.

The Bengals rank 27th in pass defense and will be without Taylor-Britt.

Maybe the Pittsburgh offense finds a spark after firing coordinator Matt Canada. Or maybe the infusion of rookie Battle and the return of Hubbard give the Bengals a jolt on defense.

MORE: Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

The Over/Under is only 35.5. That’s the lowest number for a Bengals game since the 2009 season finale, when they were resting all of their starters, and the line was 33.5. Prior to that, the last time it was lower than 35.5 was Week 16 of the 2008 season, when it was 31.5 at Cleveland. The Bengals won that game 14-0, and one of the touchdowns was a pick-six by Leon Hall.

Despite the low 35.5 number, this one feels destined to go Under.

Bengals vs. Steelers Predictions

  • Adam Beasley: Steelers
  • David Bearman: Bengals
  • Dalton Miller: Steelers
  • Dallas Robinson: Bengals
  • Jay Morrison: Bengals

Be sure to check out all of PFN’s Week 12 predictions.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.





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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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