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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals had big expectations for this NFL season, and have largely lived up to them. But their game this weekend can end the AFC North title race, or it can make the race even closer as the end of the regular season approaches. But will it be the Bengals or Steelers to get what they want out of this game?
Pittsburgh Steelers In Form
Early this season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed some time due to injury, and the team struggled in his absence. But with Roethlisberger back on the field, the Steelers have won three of their last four games and are in a great position to make the playoffs in the AFC. Furthermore, they can get within two games of the Bengals for the AFC North crown.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have done well to get into playoff positioning with their dynamic offense, led by their passing attack which is one of the best in the entire NFL. They have a great group of receivers to throw the ball to in Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Martavis Bryant, and running back DeAngelo Williams has provided them with a great change of pace to their offense through the running game.
Defensively, the Steelers have been inconsistent this season. They have had games where they’ve allowed well over 30 points, and games where they haven’t allowed two touchdowns. But against a team with the level of talent that the Cincinnati Bengals possess, you can’t afford to have inconsistencies in your defense. You have to play well from start to finish against them, as they have multiple weapons who can beat you in multiple ways. Whether or not the Steelers can do that remains to be seen.
Cincinnati Bengals Defending Everything
For the Cincinnati Bengals, their defense has been the key to their success. Cincinnati’s defense is ranked first in the NFL in points against, as they have used a solid pass rush and great defensive backs in tandem to completely neutralize the offenses of their opponents. They have a tall task ahead of them against an explosive Steelers offense, but have proven themselves capable of overcoming challenges this season.
Offensively, the Bengals have done a nice job of mixing things up, as they haven’t relied on wide receiver AJ Green as much as they have in the past. Instead, they’ve involved Tyler Eifert and the running game more efficiently in big spots, which has benefited everyone on the team. Against a Steelers defense that has struggled against upper echelon offenses this year, this could be a big game for the Bengals on offense.
In this game, expect both the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers to play well offensively, so the key will be which defense can step up and get enough stops to win. In that situation, you would generally side with the Bengals both as the home team and the team with a superior defense, but you never know who will make the key plays on any given day.
By: Jason M. Sanin