The Steelers meet their second division rival of the season in week eight as the Bengals bring their unbeaten record to the Steel City. The teams have played three common opponents in San Diego, Baltimore and Kansas City. The Bengals are 3-0 while the Steelers are 1-2.
What: Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Sunday November 1st, 2015 1pm Eastern
TV: CBS Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: SCB will be calling the game live and interacting with you the fans.
Key Injuries: As of Friday morning… PIT Roethlisberger Full Participant, W. Allen, Stephon Tuitt Did Not Practice… CIN CB Leon Hall was limited in practice this week.
What You Need to Know: Heath Miller saw his streak of games with a reception end at 110… William Gay played in his 135th straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Chris Boswell is now 7 for 7 on field goal attempts and 5 for 5 on PATs… Mike Tomlin is 24-10 in the month of October… Martavis Bryant became the sixth player in NFL history with 11 or more TD catches in his first 12 games… Mike Tomlin’s career road record is now 37-31.
AFC North: Baltimore (1-6) at San Diego (2-4), Cleveland (2-5) at Arizona (5-2)
What’s at Stake: A Bengals’ victory gives them a commanding lead in the AFC North and gives the Steelers their fourth AFC loss and second AFC North defeat. A Steelers’ win closes the gap on the Bengals and solidifies their position as one of the top AFC teams.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead the all-time series 55-34 and are 30-15 at home. They have also won three straight over the Bengals.
Series Highs Passing: PIT Ben Roethlisberger 386 yards 2005, CIN Jon Kitna 411 yards 2001 Receiving: PIT Lynn Swann 192 yards 1979, CIN A.J. Green 224 yards 2014 Rushing: PIT Le’Veon Bell 185 yards 2014, CIN James Brooks 133 yards 1985
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Play Defense With the Offense. Normally this is a tactic I would suggest when playing the Patriots but I think it really applies to this game. The Bengals’ offense is terrific. They have done a lot of things well and with the Steelers’ defense as banged up as it is, the best defense might be having Ben Roethlisberger and company on the field more often. I am NOT suggesting they deliberately slow things down but rather; use the short passing game and the running game to take chunks out of the Bengals’ 22nd ranked defense. That will keep Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and friends on the sidelines watching.
Seven > Three. The Steelers have been surprisingly good in the red zone this year ranking fourth in terms of touchdowns scored there. Because it’s assumed that the Bengals will score points with their high-powered offense, the Steelers must do the same and that starts by scoring touchdowns when you get into the red zone. All too often we’ve seen the Steelers move the ball effectively between the 20’s only to get bogged down and have to rely on field goals. While the Steelers’ defense has done a decent job of forcing opposing offenses into field goals, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to do that against Cincy. Big Ben and Todd Haley have to get the offensive into the end zone to have a chance.
Whose the Most Special? Always ignored unless they cost you a game, special teams are the forgotten third phase of a football team. While in every game, they are important, in divisional slug-matches they take on extra importance. The Bengals have the advantage in terms of place kickers at least in experience anyway. Mike Nugent is 7 for 9 this season while recently acquired Chris Boswell is 7 for 7 in his field goal opportunities. The punters are pretty similar as well with Jordan Berry holding an advantage in terms of getting punts inside the 20 while Cincy’s Kevin Huber has a better NET average by about four yards. Flipping the field with the punting game will be huge especially if we consider both teams probably won’t be punting much with their explosive offenses moving the ball. Therefore it becomes vital to pick up yards in the return game and take care of the ball as well.