You may also want to check out our Top 10 Reasons Pittsburgh Is Better Than Cincinnati, and our Steelers vs. Bengals Key Match-ups.
This Thursday at 8:15 PM, the Cincinnati Bengals come to Heinz Field to face the Steelers. The game will be aired on NFL Network.
It would be easy for the Steelers (7-3) to become complacent going into a game against the Bengals (1-8-1). Afterall, the two teams sit at opposite ends of the AFC North standings. The Steelers are in first place, and the Bengals are in last place (sound familiar?).
The Bengals’ offense is ranked #32 in the NFL (that’s last, for those of you who aren’t aware). They average a mere 158.9 yards per game passing, and an even more meager 83.7 rushing yards per game.
The Bengals’ rushing attack (if you can call it that) is led by Cedrick Benson (yes, Cedrick Benson. Stop laughing!), the NFL’s 50th ranked running back. Benson is averaging 47.2 yards/game (Bwahahaha!!!!!). Benson will be going up against the Steelers’ #1 ranked defense. They’re #1 against the pass, and #1 against the run (I like the way that sounds). Given the difficulty that REAL running backs like Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Brian Westbrook, and Brandon Jacobs had trying to run against the Steelers, Cedrick Benson is probably in for a long and painful night on Thursday. Benson should be scrambling to get a doctor’s excuse or a note from his mom before Thursday.
The Bengals’ passing game is led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. His 71.3 passer rating ranks #30 in the NFL, right behind JaMarcus Russell and Tyler Thigpen, and just ahead of Dan Orlovsky. That is not the type of company that any quarterback wants to be in. Fitzpatrick has connected with loud-mouthed wide receiver Chad Johnson 41 times this season for a total of 383 yards. That’s 10 yards less than Steelers’ #3 receiver Nate Washington has accumulated. The self-proclaimed “future hall of famer” has an unimpressive 4 touchdowns this season. Johnson has never had much success against Steelers’ cornerback Ike Taylor. That shouldn’t change this week.
The Bengals’ defense is just slightly more intimidating than their offense. They give up an average of 24.9 points per game. That puts a lot of pressure on their offense.
The Bengals have difficulty putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That should be welcome news to Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Bengals’ defense has a total of only 11 sacks this season. That’s one fewer than Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison has accumulated. In fact, the Bengals sack leader, DE Robert Geathers, has 1.5 fewer sacks than Steelers backup linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
But before Steelers fans get too excited, we should note that Cincinnati played the Philadelphia Eagles to a 13-13 tie last week (yes Donovan, there are ties in the NFL). That’s the same Eagles team that beat the Steelers like a drum earlier this year. Moreover, the Bengals have beaten the Steelers at Heinz Field as recently as 2006. So the Steelers have to be diligent not to allow this to become a “trap” game. As they say, “on any given Sunday”.
Yeah right. Who am I kidding? The Bengals don’t have a chance in this game. I predict the Steelers will win big. Final score: Steelers 32, Bengals 10.
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