To beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6, it will take another similar effort this week.
Everyone knows the history between these two teams, and I’m betting there isn’t love lost on either side. So buckle up your chin straps and pull your coolers closer to the TV. You don’t want to miss a minute of this one.
It’s Bengals week.
I would like to take Ben off of this list, but until he quits floating passes for jump balls in the end zone, I simply can’t. Ben hasn’t played terrible and he is currently 3rd in the league in yardage and has a 64% completion rate, but that should be higher. He continues to miss some easy throws.
Listening to the 93.7 The Fan this week, they replayed parts of his weekly radio show, and there was mention by Ben himself how his elbow may be the reason for missing on some throws. Ben also mentioned how it wasn’t a big deal. Let’s say Ben is a bit theatrical, some claim drama, but I like the term theatrical. Either way, Ben needs to pull it together if the Steelers stand a chance of digging out of this hole.
Interior of the Offensive Line
I’m grouping this unit together because of Geno Atkins. He currently is tied for the league lead in sacks with J.J. and T.J. Watt with six a piece. Make no mistake about it, this guy is as disruptive as they come. The shortest path to the quarterback is right up the middle and that means Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Ramon Foster need to be on top of their game Sunday.
Equally as important is run blocking for James Conner. It would be nice to have another performance like last week, but the competition is much better. Keeping it balanced is something many here on the boards have wanted. I myself would like a repeat of what we saw last week, and that is more FB and more of Ben under center. This all falls at the feet of the guys in the middle. It’s going to be physical, and the Steelers have to win in the trenches to be successful.
I’m also putting this group together. Joe Mixon is a dual purpose back and could cause issues in this game on Sunday if Pittsburgh can’t cover him out of the backfield. Reports are showing Vince Williams should be back to his usual role, and L.J. Fort hasn’t practiced this week meaning he is likely out. After the game that Fort had against the Falcons I’m feeling a little uneasy knowing Williams could be matched up with Mixon.
The middle of the defense has been exposed at times, and Vince hasn’t ever been mentioned as a coverage guy. Jon Bostic has played solid, but I feel he is also a liability in coverage, he is better than Williams, but that isn’t saying much.
I’m hoping to see more aggressive blitzing by Butler. Hopefully the Steelers have success, and that keeps Mixon out of the passing game and they have to keep him in to block. The Bengals have other weapons but Joe Mixon is one that could wreck this game if he get’s going.
I gave you my trio of sorts. Time to tell me what you’re thinking as game time approaches.