Some may accuse me of being an optimist, and I would tell them they are correct. So I am going to take a few minutes to tell you how, and why the Bengals are going to beat the Steelers this weekend.
The Steelers look good this season, really good. So I am going to skip the part where I tell you the bullshit about any given Sunday, or division games are always tough. Even though the Bengals seem to be a team that is built to compete in the AFC north (based on recent success against the teams) I feel particularly good in this matchup against the Steelers.
The Bengals are going to have to throw the ball and pick up chunks of yds. Teams all season have played the Steelers fairly close, and the ones that have had the most success have done it through the air. Last week Drew Brees tossed the ball 44 times in the Saints win over the Steelers. Ochocinco is probably going to have another quiet game. He usually does against the Steelers and this matchup should be no different. The major difference this year is the addition of TO, Shipley and Gresham.
The Bengals have the 6th best passing game in the NFL at this moment. Match that up with the Steelers 29th ranked passing defense and there is an interesting story line. If the Bengals come out and play like they are behind (without actually being behind) by running the hurry up and throwing the ball I feel they can exploit the Steeler secondary.
Last season the Bengals wore teams out by running on them. The Steelers have the best run defense in the NFL at the moment. Would it be awesome if somehow Benson was able to rack up 140yds in a 10 – 6 Bengals win? Hell yeah, would an Offensive coordinator be a fucking moron to try and game plan for that outcome? Hell yeah (and as we all know, we have that moron)
Opposite from the Steelers, the Bengals have looked like shit this year. Being the Bengals, there are a ton of seasons to choose from to compare shitty Bengals teams. Let’s look at the 2003 and 2004 squads under Marvin Lewis. In 2003 the Bengals started the season at 1 and 4. They then went on to win 6 of their next seven games including a win against Pittsburgh. In 2004 the Bengals started the season at 2 and 5 (sound familiar) and then went on to win 4 of their next 5. Less talented teams have bounced back from terrible starts, I do believe this team can also bounce back.
So what do the Bengals need to do to win? The same things they have struggled to do this season so far. On D they need to get off the field on third down. I think a lot of this has been that the D is tired from being on the field all day. The Offense needs to sustain drives. The Opening drive against the dolphins is the kind of drive that wins games. Picking up 3rd down, eating clock and scoring in the red zone. Speaking of Red Zone, the Bengals need touchdowns not field goals. If you get there, make it hurt. The Bengals need to throw the ball. Pick up the rushing yds when the game is winding down, DO NOT come out and try and establish the run. This is a recipe to be down three scores before you know it. Lastly, and this should go without saying, no turnovers. No non-contact running back fumbles, no high passes sailing into the arms of the safeties.
One more thing that the Bengals can do is allow Chad to talk on the field. Let him piss the Steelers off, everyone knows the Steelers are going to take cheap shots in the game, let’s let Chad encourage that. A first down because James Harrison is too stupid to play fundamental football is still a first down. Let the idiot defenders looking for the highlight reel make moving down the field that much easier for you.
I really do think the Bengals take this game, and if they do that, what next?