Steelers three keys of the week vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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We examine three keys needed for the Steelers (8-0) in week ten to claim victory over its division-rival Bengals (2-5-1).

Looking back on the past month’s schedule for the Pittsburgh Steelers, which series of games were more difficult to predict? The Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens or the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals?

Two very well-coached and talented opponents that are atop of the AFC conference as opposed to two bottoms-feeders, it’s told & will tell a lot of the Steelers as a team. Currently 3-0 in this stretch, the weekend presents its last challenge against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The first of their two annual meetings, the scope of what is likely to happen, was mostly dependent on the availability of QB Ben Roethlisberger. Close contact with TE Vance McDonald, who tested positive for COVID, put Ben in quarantine protocols and enabled the possibility of him not being able to play Sunday. Fortunately, he has since been cleared to rejoin the team and play this week.

Here are three keys of the week as the Steelers are set to face the Bengals:

1. Steelers success defending the aerial attack of the Bengals

The last two weeks for the Steelers defense haven’t been the most gratifying in their attempts to stop the opponent’s running game. Back to back performances of allowing 100 plus yards on the ground, it’s the first time since week 13-14 of 2019. Perhaps more so a testament to the level we are accustomed to of this defense, the script flips entirely in their upcoming battle this weekend.

Although the record spews of 2-5-1 & they rank 20th in points per game (24.3) in the league, the Bengals have remained competitive. Failing to score more than 27 points in only three of their eight contests reflects the new face of their offense is dealing.

Led by rookie QB Joe Burrow, he arrives with an arsenal of weapons. Completing  67% of his passes to WRs such as Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and AJ Green, the rook boasts a 91.4 QB rate on the season, averaging 284 passing yards per game.

However, it’s not who will be on either end of these throws, rather how many the Steelers should prepare to defend. Throwing a mean of 41.4 attempts, the Bengals coaching staff have illustrated they have full confidence in airing it out against whoever.

And in recent times, things have only got better for them. Struggling through the first portion of the season, the Bengals have eliminated their rate of second & long runs & increased their success downfield throwing the ball. Able to nullify the main facet of their offense should set the Steelers defense in a good position in stopping what the Bengals want to do.