Steelers to face Bengals for the first time in a season opener

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers 2022 NFL season is a season of firsts. Their 1st with no Ben Roethlisberger and the 1st time meeting the Bengals in the opener.

That’s right, folks. The Bengals have been in the NFL since 1968. However, they have never played  Pittsburgh in the week one season opener, making this game historic on some level. The first game the Steelers played on opening day against an AFC Central or AFC North opponent was in 1970 when they played the Houston Oilers and played them three times on an opening day. They have also faced Jacksonville two times and Baltimore three times but have faced Cleveland seven times.

Although you could argue it’s ten times since Baltimore is an extension of the original Cleveland franchise. Yet they have never met the Bengals in the season opener. So it’s hard to figure out what to expect in this game, as there are no relevant historical season-opening games to draw from. So let’s break it down first in how Pittsburgh fares on opening day against divisional opponents.

Steelers vs. AFC North on opening Day

Considering not playing the Bengals in the season opener, Pittsburgh has faced the Oilers three times and has a 2-1 record. They played two opening day games against Jacksonville when they were briefly in the AFC Central, going 0-2.

Against the Ravens, a total of four games with a 1-4 record. Against the Browns, they had a  3-3-1 record; however, the three wins came between 2007-2018, and Roethlisberger owns the three lone wins and a tie; thus, they have never beaten the Browns on an opening day without Big Ben on the team.

So in the big picture, the Steelers have a 6-9-1 record against AFC North opponents, which does not bode well for the black and gold heading into the Bengal game. So Let’s look at how the Steelers have fared against the Bengals in the month of September.

Steelers vs. Bengals in September

While never facing the Bengals in the season opener, they have played the Bengals 16 times in the month of September since 1971. Again in all the contests, Pittsburgh has a  7-9 overall record against Cincinnati.

However, there is an odd fact surrounding the matchups. Five of their victories came in approximately ten-year intervals 1971, 1982, 1993, 2003, and 2016. The only two wins to buck the decade-long trend was in 1978 and 2019.

Considering Pittsburgh is in a rebuilding stage, their success against the Bengals in their upcoming matchup is not overly promising. However, there is one additional depressing fact to keep in mind. The Steelers face the Bengals at home, and in the month of September, the Steelers are 2-5 in Cincinnati

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While Steelers and Bengals games always prove to be interesting, this one should not disappoint, although the outcome in the historical sense seems to tilt in favor of the Steelers opponent. So while it would be exciting to see the Steelers under the leadership of a new quarterback, you have to give the edge to the Bengals in the first game of the season. Expect a final score of the Steelers 19 Bengals 28.