The Steelers opened the season with a convincing 38-16 win in Washington on Monday night. Now, coming off the short week, they need to take their intensity up a few notches as they play the hated Cincinnati Bengals for the first time since the ugly playoff game that resulted in several brawls injuries and a plethora of nasty words exchanged after the contest ended with a Steelers victory. Both teams enter 1-0 and neither wants to lose to fall a game back of the other.
The Steelers have more pressure in this game than the Bengals as they are in need of protecting their home turf. We won’t see Vontaze Burfict or LeVeon Bell due to suspensions but this game won’t be without its intensity.
Here are the Keys to A Steelers Victory:
• The Bengals are surely going to be out to get Ben on the ground and the offensive line is going to have to keep him safe and upright. He can’t afford to take the cheap shots the Bengals are surely going to put on him.
2. Mike Tomlin is going to have to ensure this team stays under control. As ugly as the Bengals acted in that game last January, the Steelers weren’t without guilt and Tomlin needs to make it a priority that the black and gold don’t lose their cool.
3. Somehow the secondary is going to have to stop AJ Green or at least contain him. That’s about as tough as defending Antonio Brown but the bulk of that task falls on William Gay, hopefully he’s up for the challenge. To help in that monumental task, the linebackers are going to need to blitz and sack Andy Dalton early and often.
4. Cam Heyward is going to need to have a big game. Cam is a force and I’d like to see him step up and show just how good he is in this big game early in the season.
Here are a Few Things to Watch:
• Ben to A.B.-Is there a better combo in football? I doubt it. How will they follow up last weeks A+ performance?
2. DeAngelo Williams-While LeVeon Bell is off being suspended and making rap music, Williams is carrying the ball for over 140 yards and he’ll have another big day on Sunday.
3. Eli Rogers-The rookie had a great opening game and he’ll be needed again on Sunday. Will he show up and what will he provide?
4. Jesse James-He played pretty well at the tight end spot, can he improve upon that performance?
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.