When the Steelers righted their ship last Sunday with a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable 41-17 beating of the Falcons at Heinz Field, I thought it was fitting that their next opponent would be AFC North “rival” Cincinnati.
What perfect timing.
The Steelers can go into Paul Brown Stadium, their home away from home, and continue to get well by knocking off the AFC North’s “top” team. That’s right, I put the word top in quotation marks, and it’s because I think the Bengals’ current 4-1 record is about as menacing at Dr. Evil’s laser in Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Let’s be honest, baby, the Bengals don’t have the mojo, the libido, the life-force, the essence, the right stuff. What the Browns call a certain...they don’t know what.
I mean, who are we kidding, why would I, or any other Steelers’ fan, be scared of Cincinnati? I think its pretty clear that Pittsburgh has been living rent-free in the Bengals’ heads for many years.
The Bengals haven’t defeated Pittsburgh since Week 8 of the 2015 season. Since then, they’ve dropped 6-straight to the Steelers, this despite supposedly having a talented roster.
There was that game at Cincinnati in December of 2015, where linebacker Vontaze Burfict tried to hurt so many Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t even want to shake his hand after Pittsburgh got done beating the Bengals by 13 points—and Tomlin is a freakin’ player’s coach!
A few weeks later, there was that wildcard game at Paul Brown Stadium where the...okay, I won’t do that to you. You know what happened at the end of that game.
The following December, the Steelers found themselves back at Paul Brown Stadium and also found themselves in a 17-3 hole. The free-loading tenant would finally get kicked out of the Bengals’ minds. Ha ha, just kidding. What really happened was that Pittsburgh came all the way back to win on the strength of six Chris Boswell field goals.
And last December, again at PBS, Cincinnati built a 17-0 lead, before two Bengals’ defenders stood around near the sidelines and watched as Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell strolled past them for a touchdown that helped pave the way to a 23-20 victory.
Now, on to this week’s game between the two combatants at Paul Brown Stadium. You’re probably waiting for me to break things down in an analytical way, with the help of statistics, matchups and trends.
Hahaha, why would I do that, when it doesn’t seem to matter how these two teams are trending and performing in the weeks prior to facing off?
My first prediction for Sunday’s game: Burfict, in his crazy zest to get revenge on Steelers’ receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for Smith-Schuster’s vicious (and awesome) block of Burfict, last December 4, followed by some disrepsectful (and glorious) taunting, will pull out all the stops by doing something so egregious — I’m predicting Burfict will bring a sack of doorknobs out onto the field at some point—he’ll probably get penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct twice...on the same play.
This will play a major role in a narrow-victory by the Steelers on Sunday afternoon, followed by many trips to therapists by Bengals’ fans on Monday morning.
My second and final prediction for Sunday’s game: Steelers 26, Bengals 21.
How will the two teams arrive at that score? Simply by the Steelers being the Steelers, and the Bengals being the Bengals.