Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, right, talks with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman (33) on the sidelines during the first quarter an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. The Titans won 16-9. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Steelers first prime time game of the season takes them to Cincinnati to take on an old division foe, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both teams come into the matchup at 0-1 and already in desperate need of a win in order to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. The Bengals lost to the Bears last week but looked like a decent football team in doing so.
On the other hand, the Steelers lost at home to the Titans and looked like a Pee Wee team, unable to accomplish anything on the offensive side of the ball. In order for the black and gold to come out of Cincinnati with a win on Monday Night, they’ll need to play a lot better than what they showed us to open the season.
Here are the Steelers Keys to Victory:
1. The team must figure out a way to run the ball. They put up a total of 32 rushing yards in week 1 and that’s never going to be enough to win. Isaac Redman needs to find the holes sooner and the offensive line needs to open up those holes more often.
2. It goes without saying but the team has to protect Big Ben. He was knocked around all game long against the Titans and if they want to have any chance against a ferocious Bengal defense (see an angry James Harrison) then they must keep Ben upright.
3. The defense must find a way to stop AJ Green. He’s an elite receiver and Ike Taylor should be matched up against him all game long. That said, Taylor may not be enough. It could take double coverage to stop Green who’s been tearing up the league since he arrived in 2011.
4. The black and gold need to avoid penalties. In recent years the team has been penalized at an alarming rate and during crucial points in the game. They have to keep their composure against the hated Bengals and stay disciplined. The Bengals are talented enough these days (I can’t believe I just wrote that but it’s reality) and they don’t need any additional help.
A Few Things To Watch This Week:
1. James Harrison-Everyone is saying the right thing. Harrison and the Steelers say there are no hard feelings but that’s not the truth. Harrison is angry and he wants to take it out on the black and gold with a vengeance. He’s going to be gunning for Big Ben and he’s going to be revved up for this one. It could be a very dangerous combination.
2. Fernando Velasco-The team just signed him off the street and he should be starting at center for the Steelers on Monday Night. He wasn’t a bad pickup at all, he was rated as the 11th best center in the NFL in 2012 so Pittsburgh is fortunate to have landed him after Pouncey was lost for the season but will he be able to start and play effectively after only a few days of practice?
3. The running game-They should be embarrassed after their efforts last week, putting up a feeble 32 yards. They have something to prove and they need to get it rolling immediately. It will be interesting to see what kind of a role the newly re-signed Jonathan Dwyer plays for this team. He appears to be the most talented back on the active roster and should probably have never been released in the first place.
4. Kion Wilson-Who? Kion Wilson. He’s the new starting inside linebacker of the Pittsburgh Steelers now that Larry Foote is done for the year. Wilson was out of football last season and is now not only starting for the black and gold but he’s expected to communicate the defensive play calls to the rest of the group. Is Wilson able to do what’s needed?
By THe Associated Press
Statistics after 1 game
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