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Know Your Steelers Enemy: Week 15 at the Cincinnati Bengals

Get yourself reacquainted with a familiar foe of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Week 15, “the black ‘n gold” tangle with a dangerous opponent.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers and Bengals meet up, you can throw conventional wisdom out the window. They don't like each other and it shows. The fan bases hate each other and it shows. The team that avoids the noise and focuses on football and not drama will win. You know these guys, but here’s a refresher on who you’ll be most likely labeling a “jagoff” on Sunday.


HC-Marvin Lewis

Believe it or not, Lewis is ranked 30th among NFL coaches with 117 wins. But the 14-year head coach is 0-7 in the playoffs and is in charge of a very undisciplined team. Not improving on a 5-7-1 record could be the death knell for Marvin in Cincy. Against the Steelers, Lewis is 9-21 including playoffs. You would think that beating the Steelers this week would be paramount for Lewis to keep his job.

Some Other Bengals Coaches to know: OC-Ken Zampese, DC- Paul Guenther


No. 14 Andy Dalton

Contrary to popular belief, Dalton is not a Steeler killer (3-8 career against Pittsburgh). It kind of just seems that way. He doesn't have a very high completion percentage (58.24%) against the Steelers in eleven starts. But that doesn't mean he can't beat you. He has 2,400 yards, 13 TDs and 10 interceptions against Pittsbrgh. While probably not getting AJ Green back this weekend, what Dalton does have at his disposal is one of the best tight ends in the game in Tyler Eifert. He knows how to find both his gargantuan TE early and often. On the season, Dalton has 16 touchdowns against six picks and has thrown for 3,555 yards. But "the Red Rifle" has Been sacked 34 times, including four times last week. The Steelers will need to force him to step up in the pocket and disrupt his synchronicity with his receivers.

Some Other Bengals Quarterbacks to know: No. 5 A.J. McCarron

Running Back

No. 32 Jeremy Hill

Hill is a dynamic and powerful runner that has assumed the feature role in the Queen City since Giovanni Bernard went down for the season. Hill is averaging 4.0 YPC and has 788 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Though not quite the receiving threat that Bernard was, Hill can definitely burn you.

Some Other Bengals Running Backs to know: No. 30 Cedric Peerman, No. 33 Rex Burkhead

Wide Receiver

No. 83 Tyler Boyd

AJ Green is listed as doubtful to play on Sunday, so it looks like the rookie from Pitt will assume the deep threat duties. Boyd is off to a good start in Cincinnati and because of the hamstring injury to AJ Green, he is seeing valuable pt as a WR1. The Pitt rookie leads all first-year receivers with third-down receptions. So far this year, Boyd has 48 catches for 526 yards. Against the Steelers in Week 2, No. 83 pulled in six of eight targets for 78 yards, but that was with a majority of the defenses focus on AJ Green. Boyd is an outstanding route-runner with powerful hands who is not afraid to try his luck in traffic. He’s not AJ Green, but the 6’1” WR plays pretty big.

Some Other Bengals Receivers to know: No. 11 Brandon LaFell, No. 12 Alex Ericson, No. 16 Cody Core, No. 18 AJ Green, No. 86 James Wright

Tight Ends

No. 85 Tyler Eifert

If Eifert could only play an injury-free year, he'd be mentioned in the Gronk-mosphere. At 6’6”, Eifert is a matchup nightmare he’s too fast for linebackers to cover him and way too big and strong for defensive backs to neutralize him. In merely seven games in 2016, T.E., the TE, has 28 catches for 385 yards and five touchdowns. Look for Ryan Shazier to shadow Eifert all day long.

Some Other Bengals Tight Ends to know: No. 81 Tyler Kroft, No. 87 TE/HB C.J. Uzomah, No. 89 TE/HB Ryan Hewitt

Offensive Line

LT- No. 77 Andrew Whitworth

Whitworth has been one of the finest LTs in football over the last ten years. He’s still the best of a bunch that has seen their signal caller running for his life, all season long.

Some Other Bengals Offensive Linemen to know: No. 61 C Russell Bodine, No. 63 G Christian Westerman, No. 65 LG Clint Boling, No. 68 Kevin Zeitler, No. 70 RT Cedric Ogbuehi, No. 73 T Eric Winston, No. 74 T Jake Fisher

Front Seven

DT- No. 97 Geno Atkins

Geno is absolutely dominant anywhere he lines up on the defensive line. Atkins game is one of penetration, disruption, dominance and dismantling plays in the backfield. For 2016, No. 97 has 6 12 sacks. In twelve games against Pittsburgh, he has six sacks. Atkins lines up all my over the line, so the Steelers guards will need to have their heads on a swivel.

Some Other Bengals Defensive Linemen to know: No. 69 DT DeShawn Williams, No. 90 RDE Michael Johnson, No. 92 NT Pat Sims, No. 93 DE Will Clarke, No. 94 NT Domata Peko, No. 95 DE Wallace Gilberry, No. 96 LDE Carlos Dunlap, No. 99 DE Margus Hunt

WLB-No. 55 Vontaze Burfict

It’s no secret that Burfict is public enemy number one of Steeler Nation. He has tallied transgressions against Ben, Brown and Bell. He plays with a thuggish mentality that knows no boundaries. But he is a dominant presence at all times on defense and must always be accounted for. This season, Burfict has two sacks and two picks in ten games. Against Pittsburgh, he has 60 tackles in six games. The Steelers did not face Burfict the first time around this year and need to be sure he doesn't unnecessarily inflict injury on their teammates. That may be easier said than done.

Some Other Bengals Linebackers to know: No 53 Marquis Flowers, No. 56 Karlos Dansby, No. 57 Vincent Rey, No. 58 Rey Maualuga, No. 59 Nick Vigil


CB-No. 27 Dre Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick is one of the few defensive backs that Antonio Brown has faced and failed to dominate. Kirkpatrick has always played Brown very well. The Bengals and mainly No. 27 have held Brown to 24 catches on 43 targets over their last four meetings. These two will tangle and scuffle frequently on Sunday. On the year, Dre has three picks.

FS-No. 43 George Iloka

Iloka is a dominator in the Cincy secondary. He has an incredible nose for the football and breaks towards it quickly. He’s good in run support also. But his biggest strength is his ability to rock a player out of his cleats. Cincinnati had to invest big bucks to bring back their free safety and he’s proved worth the pay day. This season, Iloka has 56 tackles and three interceptions.

Some Other Some Other Bengals Defensive Backs to know: No. 21 CB Darqueze Dennard, No. 24 CB Adam “Pacman” Jones , No. 26 CB Josh Shaw, No. 31 Derron Smith, No. 36 SS Shawn Williams, No. 42 S Clayton Fejedelem

Special Teams

P-No. 10 Kevin Huber

Huber is averaging 46.1 yards-per-punt, has dropped 18 punts inside-the-20 and us third in the league with seven touchbacks. He hasn't had the greatest luck against Pittsburgh. AB has run two of his kicks in for scores and Terrance Garvin bloodied his face on a block in 2014.

Some Other Bengals Special Teamers to know: No. 4 K Randy Bullock, No. 12 KR/PR Alex Ericson, No. 24 KR/PR Adam “Pacman” Jones, No. 46 LS Clark Harris