In a critical Week 16 AFC North match-up, the Steelers host the Bengals looking to keep their playoff hopes alive.
History is on the side of the Steelers today when they host the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. ET from Heinz Field.
Winners of five straight against Cincinnati and it being Immaculate Reception Weekend, loads of former Steelers are on hand for the game.
It's time for the Steelers to get back to what they do; physically dominant, disciplined and well-coached football.
The Steelers have suffered through their worst drought since 2009 - a year they lost five consecutive games while rebounding to win their final three but still missing the playoffs. But they're still standing. The Steelers and Ravens jumped out to leads on the Bengals in the AFC North, but the Bengals stormed back over the second half, playing better than both of them. It's unlikely the Bengals get hotter, or even remain as hot as they have been, while the Steelers get colder. There's too much talent on this Steelers' team.
Speaking of that cold streak...it's all in the past. This team has had enough time to adapt to Life Without Ike, and to learn how to play with Kelvin Beachum at right tackle. The leadership of this team needs to step up and prepare this team mentally to play within the framework of their "new" team. That's what's been missing the past few weeks. Add in a few defensive splash plays (Andy Dalton has been sacked 38 times and has thrown 14 interceptions), and this team can move forward with its season.
All of this centers around Ben Roethlisberger. He's only played in one of the Steelers' four divisional games this year - the 24-17 win over the Bengals in Week 7. Meanwhile, Dalton has 26 touchdowns to Roethlisberger's 22, but Dalton has 14 picks, and a Flacconian 30-point rating swing between wins and losses (105.1 in wins, 72.8 in losses). It's rare this season the Steelers get their starting quarterback in a divisional game, and Roethlisberger should stand up and remind everyone who the alpha dog of the North is.
Heath Miller is going to play. Heath Miller will be on the field. The Bengals won't have to look very far to find Heath Miller, should they want anything to do with him. Like a boxer landing a jab to establish control, the Steelers will get Heath the ball with room to square his shoulders so he can inform the Bengals what kind of game they're going to be forced to play. The Steelers are going to bring back that receiver screen with Miller in front. It's time to stop protecting Kelvin Beachum and re-release Heath back into the wild, where he belongs.
Not For You
The Steelers have beaten this team five times in a row for a reason. Clamor all you want about BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Andy Dalton and even the great A.J. Green (one catch, eight yards last time). This defense is about scheme, and it's time the remember that. It's a look at the future; Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen, David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey. And it's a look at the past, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, Casey Hampton, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. It's not Cincinnati's time.