The Pittsburgh Steelers are desperate for a win to keep their 2022 season alive, but these Cincinnati Bengals players could wreck their dreams.
At 3-6 this is far from the start the Pittsburgh Steelers could have hoped for. Now they get a daunting task against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11. After miraculously pulling off the upset against Cincy al the way back in Week 1, the Bengals are going to be looking for revenge this week against a heated divisional opponent.
With no Ja’Marr Chase this week, Cincinnati might not have as much firepower as they would like for this matchup, but there are other players who have the potential to wreck the dreams of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. Here are three opposing players they must account for this Sunday.
EDGE Trey Hendrickson
By now, Steelers ought to know who Trey Hendrickson is. In his first year with the Bengals in 2021, Hendrickson earned Pro Bowl honors thanks to 14.0 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and 27 quarterback hits. Though he’s not on the same dominant pace statistically this season, Hendrickson has still graded out as the 8th-best edge defender this year, according to Pro Football Focus.
Meanwhile, Dan Moore has been one of the weakest links in the starting lineup all season for Pittsburgh. Though the second-year offensive tackle is coming off arguably the best game of his career against the Saints, he faced backups last week with Marcus Davenport out. Now he will be forced to handle one of the league’s best edge rushers. Hendrickson has forced a pair of fumbles this season, and a few big plays off the edge could shift the tides in this game.
WR Tee Higgins
Just because Ja’Marr Chase won’t suit up this week at Acrisure Stadium doesn’t mean that the Steelers don’t have to account for anyone in Cincinnati’s wide receiver corps. Tee Higgins might just be the best WR2 on any team in the league, and he becomes a go-to option when Chase is out of the lineup. While Higgins doesn’t have elite athletic traits, he’s a natural hands catcher who uses his long frame to box out defensive backs.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s cornerbacks have struggled against good receivers. Though the Steelers held him to 2 catches and 27 yards in Week 1 this year, they gave allowed 6 of 8 targets for 114 yards and a TD when they faced each other in Week 11 of 2021, via ESPN Stats — a game that prove to be a blowout loss for Pittsburgh. Teryl Austin may need to shift some attention his way.
QB Joe Burrow
Obviously, the player who has the greatest chance of wrecking this game for the Steelers is Bengals quarterback, Joe Burrow. After a bit of a slow start to the season, Burrow has since been red hot. Over his past 7 games, Burrow has recorded 15 touchdowns to go with just 2 interceptions. Even with his four-pick game against the Steelers in Week 1, he still has one of the best passer ratings in the league this year at 102.6.
The key for the Steelers will be getting quick pressure on the third-year quarterback. We can’t expect Burrow to throw four interceptions this time around, but if they can get him rattled early, Pittsburgh will have a chance in this one.
I do believe that the Steelers can win this game against the Bengals in Week 11. However, these three players could potentially wreck their dreams in 2022 if they aren’t careful.