I am, like everyone else, glad to see the steelers win the game in that fashion. But now attention has to be turned to the Cincinnati Bengals. Who would have thought in the beginning of the season that Nov. 15 would be the game to decide the division and not Nov. 29? But alas, here we are 5 days away from the deciding factor of who will win the division.
You really have to acknowledge the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have done an adimarable job this season. They only have one bad loss - against the texans where I and many others thought they were going to revert to the Ben-gals of old. But they have bounced back and now hold the division lead (currently they have the tie-breaker against us). A win this sunday and the division is theres.
The question is there and I have to ask it. How good are the ravens? That determines the level of fear (can't believe I just said that) we should have of the bengals. I honestly don't think the ravens this year are that good. But the point is - how good is the AFC? No one has played anyone and there are so many bad teams you can't really gauge how good the good teams are. In my opinion there are only three good teams in the AFC that seperate themselves from the rest - Colts, Pats, and Steelers. I still, like many of us, do not want to believe that Cincy is for real - as in Super Bowl Contender. But they are a playoff team. That is quite clear when looking at the remainder of their schedule. There is no reason that 10-6 or 11-5 is out of reach for the bengals this season and that should be well enough for a playoff spot this year.
Ultimately you have to scratch your head at the Ravens, after coming back and thumping the broncos, they lose a key division game to the bengals. With Pitt twice and Indy left on the schedule its hard to envision that team in the playoffs. Which reflects on the broncos who, after this loss, are showing that they are at least not a super bowl contender. They may still make the playoffs by way of a weak division and all around weak conference. Houston and the NY Jets will contend with them for the last playoff spot if they let the Chargers pass them for the division. And the Jets are a 4-4 squad right now.
Keys to the game:
Do what you do best: Stop the run.
We have seen cincy play two types of games they been able to grind it out against baltimore and pass over the place against green bay. If we stop their running game then they become one dimensional and with Chris Henry out the pressure will be on L. Coles to have a good day. Chad O. will always be the focal point of the passing attack.
Take the ball away.
When this defense gets turnovers the offense has no hope. With Troy P. back patrolling the field look for palmer to take an extra second to get ride of the ball which will lead too.....
Sack the Qb
Insightful. I know. But this gets the offense out of sync so much and puts them in more predictable passing situations which will lead to the defense getting off the field more.
Run the football
This is crucial because not only it protects our defense from getting tired, and being attacked by a very good QB in Carson Palmer, we're learning this year - it protects us from ourselves also. We all know that BA, Ben, whoever it is; has been a bit trigger happy with the passing game this year. This has lead to picks that well could have been avoided if the offense hadn't passed the ball three straight times. This is of course if Mendy can hold onto the ball
I am confident if we do not turn the ball over, we win this game going away.
I know most people are done with Sweed. The last time we played the Bengals was when the last bit of hope in this guy was lost by most of us. But Sweed is still a great talent and Ben knows it. When ben passed behind the guy last night people could tell he was upset. Ben always wanted a tall receiver and sweed can be that guy. Ben wants sweed to sucess so if he is activated, I believe that Ben will try to get the ball to the guy. I also believe that all it takes is one TD catch in a meaningful game and Sweed become another deadly weapon to our arsenal and all drops are forgiven.... well maybe not all.
Win this game and the steelers still have to win 1 of 2 against the ravens to clinch the division. Lose this game, and the Bengals basically clinch this division. Yea this game is important.
Your thoughts on my obvious observations. :)