Steelers vs . Bengals: Previewing Pittsburgh's do-or-die matchup in Week 16

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Next man up mentality for Steelers

Defensively, the Steelers are facing challenges. Last week's game against Indianapolis was tough, compounded by the loss of key player Minkah Fitzpatrick to a knee injury. The situation worsened with the suspension of Damontae Kazee for the rest of the year. Both starting safeties are now out, and Keanu Neal has been absent since Week 11, leaving the ILB and Safety room severely depleted due to injuries.

The Bengals' offense has maintained its momentum and improved since the Steelers last faced them. The potential injury to Jamarr Chase adds a layer of intrigue to how the Bengals will utilize Higgins and Boyd.

Given the Bengals tendencies for the screen game and play-action, clear communication is paramount for the Steelers throughout the entire game. Facing a Bengals team that may exploit the Steelers' lack of experience and talent in the middle of the defense and on the back end, persistent adjustments will be important.

After the defensive unit's tough outing last week, there is a pressing need for improvement. The Steelers must find more ways to generate pressure and force turnovers, providing the struggling offense with additional opportunities to score. It's a critical game for this defensive unit to step up and make a significant impact.