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Bengals vs. Steelers: Looking for the unexpected in the Steelers game plan

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The Steelers may want to shake things up against the Bengals, and look to land big plays early in the game.

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NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk wants to know, "We end the season with some divisional games where familiarity plays a huge role. Innovative strategy will help separate the teams that are truly Professional Grade. How should your team attack your rival this week in an unexpected way?"

The Steelers haven't been much for surprises this year, but if they were to add the element of surprise at the Cincinnati Bengals, I'd say it would be a vertical passing game plan.

Not that Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has four options to choose from; short passing, deep passing, inside running or outside running. A few well-placed and targeted deep strikes against a Bengals secondary that's been up and down most of the season makes a lot of sense in and of itself. but an abundance of deeper plays, stuff aimed to really challenge their safeties can open things up.

Then, POW! The Steelers will want to use the counter package on the ground they did in their previous 42-21 win over Cincinnati in Week 14. Heath Miller and David DeCastro blocking off that edge, even add in Steelers' Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell with a back-cutting option, it worked well last game.

What works well in one game isn't necessarily what will work well in the next game and this Bengals defense has been hot and cold all season. Much of the plan in this one will likely begin with a more conservative approach. Throw a few body shots at the Bengals before looking to land a few haymakers.

Throwing those haymakers right off the bat, and get a primetime home crowd into the game, may not be a bad idea.

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