Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals
- QuarterbackEven though Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls in his career, he doesn’t seem to get credit for being one of the elite quarterbacks in the game. Roethlisberger has incredible size and strength, but when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger can put the ball on the money and make decisive plays.The Bengals appeared to be on track for a winning season, but painful losses to the Dolphins and the Browns have shaken this team’s confidence. Andy Dalton is a solid athlete who seems to understand what NFL defenses are going to do to try to slow down his team and realizes what it takes to defeat them. However, he has to lift his team up and get them out of their funk.
- OffenseThe Steelers got a scare when running back Rashard Mendenhall had to come out of the Week Six game against Tennessee with what appeared to be an Achilles injury. It does not appear to be serious and he should play against the Bengals. He is a solid power runner with a burst. Wide receiver Mike Wallace has explosive speed.BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the kind of running back who can run hard between the tackles and wear down a defense. However, the big-play performers on the Bengals offense are wide receiver A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins. Green is a spectacular athlete who can go up and over the defense and come down with great balance. Hawkins is a speedster who can rip apart the defense.
- DefenseThe Steelers have been solid on defense for much of the season. While they could not hold off Tennessee’s late charge in the Week Six 26-23 loss, the Steelers rank 4th in pass defense and are 5th in total defense. However, the Steelers are not likely to be at their best because it looks like safety Troy Polamalu (calf) will likely miss the game. Polamalu has only played two games this season.The Bengals are having problems stopping the pass. One of the reasons is the lack of pass rush. Defensive end Robert Geathers had a sack in the Bengals’ loss to Cleveland and he’s one of the team’s few defensive linemen who can turn a game around with his pass rush ability. Domata Peko and Geno Atkins are solid run stuffers.
- Special TeamsThe Steelers are happy with Shaun Suisham at the placekicker position. He has made 11-of-12 field goal attempts this season. Punter Drew Butler does not great distance on his kicks and he is averaging 42.4 yards per punt.The Bengals are getting solid production from Mike Nugent. He has made 10-of-11 field goal attempts this season, but he is not among the top long-distance placekickers in the game. Kevin Huber is averaging 45.0 yards per punt.
This is a key game for the Bengals. They are mentally deflated after losing back-to-back games to the Dolphins and Browns. If they are going to get their season back on track, they need to play a good game against an excellent team. The Steelers let a road game get away against Tennessee and head coach Mike Tomlin needs to get his team prepared for this division rival.