PITTSBURGH (93-7 the Fan) —
Steelers at Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH, Sunday 8:20pm NBC
Spread: Pittsburgh (+1) 45.5 O/U
All-time regular season series: Steelers lead overall series 52-32 and 23-18 in Cincinnati. Mike Tomlin is 8-2 against the Bengals as Steelers head coach. The Steelers have won 4 straight in the series.
Last Meeting: December 4, 2011, Pittsburgh 35-7
The Steelers and Bengals are both coming off of road losses last week, the Steelers to Tennessee and the Bengals in Cleveland. Cincinnati has lost two straight games in October after ending September with 3 straight wins. They are one-half game ahead of the Steelers in the AFC North standings, with a record of 3-3. Defense has been a problem for the Bengals, giving up 27+ points in every game but one. The offense has tried to keep pace, but has not had consistency from the running game, making for a one-dimensional offense. Andy Dalton and the passing game has been very good, as second year WR A.J. Green has continued his development, becoming one of the better young receivers in the league. He currently leads the NFL in receiving yards this season.
Offensive Player to Watch: A.J. Green, Wide Receiver
The Tennessee Titans and their receiving corps had the way with the Steelers secondary last week and the Bengals pose as a much bigger challenge. There is no reason to believe that the Bengals won’t come out challenging Ike Taylor, much like the Titans did and in all likelihood that means more targets for Green.
Defensive Player to Watch: Robert Geathers, Defensive End
Geathers is part of a very talented front four in the Cincinnati defense. Steeler fans should be watching his play all night since he will be matched up against rookie right tackle Mike Adams, who will be making his first career start. This has the makings of a really big night for Geathers or maybe the start of the Mike Adams Era for the Steelers offensive line.
Strengths: Cincinnati Defensive Line
The Bengals defensive line has accounted for 15 of the teams 20 sacks this season. When you then consider that they will be going up against a beat up, make shift offensive line from the Steelers the Bengal front four could greatly impact the game on Sunday.
Weaknesses: Cincinnati Secondary
As good as the Cincinnati front four can be at times, the Bengals back four can be that bad. The Bengals secondary has accounted for just 2 interceptions in 192 pass attempts against them in the first 6 games. Opposing teams have completed over 66% of their passes against the back four this season and scored 8 touchdowns through the air. Ben Roethlisberger should be licking his chops for this match-up Sunday night.
He Said It:
“There are so many fast guys who have been in the National Football League who couldn’t catch, but these guys can catch. That makes a huge difference. And they have a quarterback who can get it out there to them. Then he finds ways to extend the play to get it out there even further at times. We see it all the time, and we’ve been victimized by it – we have to stay in coverage and stay in leverage until we know the quarterback is down or he doesn’t have the ball any more.” – Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis on the Steelers passing attack.