The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in the same must-win situation in Week 4 of the 2019 NFL season. The loser of their “Monday Night Football” matchup will take sole possession of last place in the AFC North and all but guarantee that a playoff berth is out of reach.

A win in the divisional battle might not mean much by the end of the season. Both the Steelers and Bengals are winless, appearing to be unlikely postseason contenders.

Cincinnati had little preseason expectations, pegged to finish at the bottom of the AFC North. Pittsburgh was thought to be a possible division winner, though that’s changed with Ben Roethlisberger’s injury and a 0-3 start.

The Steelers are still considered to be the better team. Pittsburgh is a four-point favorite at home, according to the latest betting line at OddsShark. The over/under is 44.

Mason Rudolph might ultimately determine the outcome of Monday’s game. The quarterback kept the Steelers alive when he replaced Roethlisberger in Week 2, nearly leading Pittsburgh to a comeback over the Seattle Seahawks. Rudolph looked every bit like a second-year backup in Week 3, barely completing half of his passes in a 24-20 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Pittsburgh failed to beat San Francisco despite five 49ers’ turnovers. Rudolph’s 39-yard touchdown pass that gave the Steelers a fourth-quarter lead was one of his few impressive throws in his first career start.

Cincinnati didn’t get much better quarterback play in Week 3. Andy Dalton went 20-36 for 250 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 21-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals haven’t scored more than 21 points in a game this season.

Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With A.J. Green still sidelined, Cincinnati’s offense is unlikely to improve much, even against a Steelers’ defense that’s struggled. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was a key addition, recording an interception, a forced fumble and five sacks in his Pittsburgh debut.

Rudolph is still playing behind a very good offensive line with a talented No.1 wide receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Bengals gave up 41 points to the 49ers just two weeks ago, making Jimmy Garoppolo look like a Pro-Bowl quarterback.

Look for Rudolph to have his best performance as a Steeler and for Pittsburgh to finally get in the win column.

The Bengals have lost eight straight games against the Steelers. Cincinnati has covered the spread just five times in their last 19 matchups with Pittsburgh.

Prediction: Pittsburgh over Cincinnati, 26-17