The Steelers have dominated their recent games against the Cincinnati Bengals, but this trip to Paul Brown Stadium has a different feel if you will. The Bengals feel they can move the ball on the Steelers, and the black and gold struggled last week moving the ball and putting it in the end zone in Chicago. With that said, here’s three keys and a final prediction for the Sunday AFC North showdown in the Queen City.
1. Make the Bengals a one-trick pony – Last week vs the Packers, Cedric Benson looked like the second coming of Jim Brown, rushing for 141 yards. Cincy is 4-0 when they get 100 yards from Benson, and the Steelers have to shut him down and force the Bengals to throw and throw often. If Benson can have early success vs the Steelers run D, the confidence level for Cincy is going to allow for play actions, which the team can’t allow.
2. Limit the penalties and mistakes – Last week the team beat themselves with Jeff Reed missing two kicks, and some penalties that set them back at key times. How about playing a sound game with few mistakes? They also missed blocks, tackles, and even have had some early drops. These mistakes will kill any team, and to me it was a key reason for the three-point setback in Chicago. If the same things happens in Cincy, we could have a repeat of Chicago.
3. Take Advantage of Opportunities – The team scored quickly vs the Bears, and then they went into an offensive funk the rest of the day. How about making the proper adjustments like the defense does so you DON’T go backwards from an offensive standpoint. I felt the running game showed improvement vs the Bears, and they have had some huge games in the past on the ground vs Cincy, and it would be nice to see them get that going to establish a killer instinct when they have the football.
The Bengals have been the Steelers red-headed stepchild if you would, and if they impose their will, even without Troy Polamalu, they have enough to win this game. Don’t let the Bengals get off to a quick start, and again, play like champs, not chumps.
Pittsburgh 24 Cincinnati 13