Cincinnati Bengals Pose Tough Challenge for Injury-Riddled Pittsburgh Steelersby Nick Zeller-Singh November 21, 2019 0 comments
The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) dropped their four-game winning streak last week after losing to the Cleveland Browns. On the other hand, the Cincinnati Bengals’ winless season continued as they dropped their 10th straight by losing 17-10 to the Raiders.
The Steelers sit as a seven-point favorite for this game. The bruised Steelers have eight players on the injured reserve list. In addition, they have 11 players, including Bud Dupree, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Conner, on the injury report for this week.
The Bengals have their own injuries, too. Yet, they have more starters able to play healthy than the Steelers do.
So, with injuries making the game seem close, how can the Bengals pick up their first win?
Cincinnati Bengals | Keys to the Game
Offensively, the Bengals rely on quarterback Ryan Finley. Therefore, he can earn confidence if Joe Mixon opens up the ground and air game. Finley does not have A.J. Green, so he will need Mixon in the air game as well. Plus, with Dupree and Tuitt out for the Steelers, the front seven is weaker. The Bengals can pound through Casey Heyward and the middle. Pittsburgh linebackers Devin Bush and Mark Barron struggle against the run game. The run game is crucial for the Bengals to move the ball on the Steelers.
If Finley throws, he will be dealing with Minkah Fitzpatrick and a turnover machine in the secondary.
Defensively, the line needs to attack quarterback Mason Rudolph often. Rudolph rarely is sacked, but when he is pressured, he will make inexperienced mistakes. Plus, Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are unlikely to play, meaning Rudolph has lost two tight ends, three receivers, and two running backs. He is relying on former college teammate James Washington and former practice squad running back Tre Edmunds.
The Bengals’ rush can shut down the Steelers’ offense. With Maurkice Pouncey suspended, the Steelers’ offensive line will not be able to handle the Bengals’ front seven as well as they can.
Even though there is a shot for the Bengals, the Steelers still sit as favorites. How can they win in Cincinnati?
Pittsburgh Steelers | Keys to the Game
Offensively, Randy Fichtner needs to get creative. Whether it is a West Coast offense or taking shots in a vertical offense, he needs to switch the flow that fits the starters.
In addition to switching play calls, James Washington needs to step up. He has jumped into the scene this season, but this is crucial for the Steelers. He has an upper edge on the Bengals’ corners and should utilize their weaknesses. It won’t be easy, but it is a litmus test for the receiver.
Defensively, the Steelers need to throw stunts and tricks at Finley. The Steelers are famous for corner blitzes. If utilized correctly, the Steelers can shut down the edges and provide support and pass-rushing. Also, it forces Finley to throw into the Steelers’ defensive wall.
With no Green and other stars available for Cincinnati, the Steelers’ defensive backs are favorites across the board. They can shut down the passing game and force the Bengals to a one style game.
Despite the injuries for the Steelers, will they win?
The Steelers beat the Bengals in Week 4. Sitting as the favorites on the road, they will sneak away with a win. The backup Finley cannot handle the Steelers’ defense.
Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Cincinnati Bengals 6