The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in a losing streak and are in jeopardy of slipping further down the AFC’s standings. Thankfully for them they are taking on a Cincinnati Bengals team that is in complete scorched earth protocol. Unfortunately for the Steelers this is still an AFC North matchup and we’ve learned anything is possible in these types of games, especially on the road.
8:15 PM EST Monday, the Steelers will take to the road and head to Cincinnati. The Steelers haven't lost in Cincinnati since 2013 and are sporting an 11 game winning streak against the Bengals. While recent history points in the Steelers favor it should be noted that the Steelers have held long winning streaks against the Bills and Washington Football Team but both came to an end.
Bengals Best Player
Since superstar rookie quarterback Joe Burrow tore virtually every ligament in his knee the look of the Bengals has shifted drastically. One thing has remained consistent however, the Bengals still feature one of the best receiving cores in football. The centrepiece of the unit is Pittsburgh native, Tyler Boyd. Boyd might be recognized as a Top 10 receiver in the NFL if he was on a better team. Boyd, Tee Higgins, and AJ Green poise to be a serious threat and can take over a game at any time. The Steelers secondary needs to be dialled in once a agin to be victorious.
Weakest position group
I really want to say everyone but the receivers and defensive backs. But in the spirit of this exercise I will highlight just one. Since Joe Burrow went down with his injury so did back up Brandon Allen. The next man up Ryan Finley, who has experience playing the Steelers in the past but he looked out of place in a Steelers 16-10 victory in 2019. Finley hasn't looked like an NFL quarterback since entering the league and it would be a surprise if he had a career day Monday night. Without Joe Mixon in the backfield Finley will have to lead the charge himself. I can't see that happening.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is sitting on the hot seat in Cincinnati, however he is still one of the bright offensive minds in football. If it wasn't for the Bengals terrible injury luck, or their lack of talent Taylor wouldn't be worried about losing his job. But this is the NFL and his record speaks volumes. His team should be hungry to try to save his job.
How will the Bengals attack the Steelers defense
The Bengals are going to be forced to air the ball out. The problem is Ryan Finley stinks and the Bengals can't block anyone. Expect quick passes and dump offs to Giovanni Bernard. Bengals points will be hard to come by unless the Steelers turn the ball over.
How will the Bengals defend the Steelers offense
The strength of the Bengals defense is its secondary, William Jackson and Jessie Bates are playmakers. But the Bengals defensive line and linebackers are undermanned. If the Steelers are ever going to find their running game again this would be the game. I don't anticipate the Bengals getting to Ben Roethlisberger but I don’t want him to throw the ball 50 times either. The Bengals have nothing to lose but can be broken easily, a couple quick scores end this game quickly.
Normally this spot is reserved for one player on the opposing team however the only way I see the Bengals winning this game is if the Steelers beat themselves. This week my X-factor is the Steelers ability to catch the ball. Simple sure but it's the reason why they've lost two consecutive games and nearly lost to the Ravens. Catch the ball win the game.
Monday, 8:15PM EST. We will see if the Steelers can push their record to 12-2 and win the AFC North.