The Steelers and Bengals reborn rivalry spills over into the postseason with a Wild Card matchup that’s got everyone talking.
These teams split their regular season series, which each team winning on the road. Now in the win or go home scenario we have the Steelers trying to win their first playoff game since 2010 and the Bengals trying to win their first playoff game since 1990.
Heading over to our counterpart in the FanSided Network, Stripe Hype editor Matthew Wilson gives us his opinions on the renewed rivalry, the confidence in A.J. McCarron and a prediction for the game complete with score.
With A.J. McCarron is starting on Saturday night for the Bengals. What is the confidence level fans have in him going into this game? If McCarron beats the Steelers is he the quarterback going forward?
I think the feeling is that A.J. is our quarterback until Andy Dalton is ready. Andy Dalton was 8-0 going into week 10 and they had all the confidence in the world. Dalton is the starter until something proves he cannot do the job. Then again, with him not practicing at all with his right hand, he might still be a couple weeks away, not just one. This is definitely McCarron’s time to prove he is an NFL caliber QB that is better than just a mid-round draft career back up.
With all of the penalties, fines, fights and whatnot that transpired in the previous meeting between these teams both sides have been pretty good about saying all the right things this week (aside from Vontaze Burfict’s “I hate Pittsburgh”) to keep focused on the game instead of the extracurricular stuff. The league has even already issued warnings to teams to keep it professional this weekend. Do you think any player from either team will still end up crossing the line and if so who do you think does it?
First off, I don’t think Vontaze Burfict was saying anything wrong. Anybody who didn’t know that these two teams hated each other has been living under a rock. Burfict just had the guts to say it. There is always a risk when it comes to rivalries and players actions. I think this remains a little more in control as the officials are being watched even closer and scrutinized for every move they make as well.
I would not be shocked to see any extra-curricular activities happen or any scuffles but I think it is kept in check and nobody see boarder-line ejections. I look for Vontaze and this defensive line get after Ben and put him in a tough pressure situation. Remember, Mike Mitchell will be put under the same microscope that Vontaze Burfict is under for his cheap helmet to helmet hit on Tyler Eifert.
What do you think gets brought up more during the broadcast of this game the 2005 Wild Card game or the Bengals playoff win drought?
The Playoff drought gets brought up every time the Bengals and Steelers play. It isn’t to say the 2005 game has been forgotten but this team was supposed to be playing for it all this year, before Andy Dalton got injured. In fact, the 2005 game was only lightly referenced until the week 14 injury to Dalton. Either way, both events are weighing heavily on the fans minds, the players are just focused on the game at hand.
Who has to step up for the Bengals to win and end this drought once and for all?
The defense will be the biggest factor. They have the second best points against in the league, they have one of the top pass rushing duo’s in the league behind Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and they have the NFL’s leading player in interceptions, which Reggie Nelson has three of his eight against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. If the defense can hold Pittsburgh like they did in week eight, this game is a toss-up. I don’t see McCarron making poor throws like he did in week 14 that is for sure.
What is your bold prediction with score for the game?
With the chance of rain at 50% and the Bengals at home with a mostly Cincy crowd behind them, yes Pittsburgh I know how well you travel, I see the Bengals edging out the Steelers by a score of 16-13 on a late field goal or even a final second field goal.
There you have it Steeler Nation, what would you have asked about the Bengals?
Check out Stripe Hype for my answers to Matthew’s questions.
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!