Well Steeler Nation, is there anywhere to go but up following last weeks awful 7-point loss to the Titans? I didn’t think so. The Steelers travel to the Jungle Monday night, taking on a Bengals team that has visions of not only a division title but an actual playoff win, something they haven’t seen in a couple decades.
The Bengals fell to the Bears last week, so while you know they will be ready, they also want to play with a sense of urgency to try and avoid falling to 0-2 to start the season.
With that, here’s our preview for Monday night, along with our final score and your chance to weigh in on the final with the poll question at the bottom of the story.
1. Keep the Crowd Out of It – Easier said than done as the game at Paul Brown Stadium is the hottest ticket in town. Bengals fans, despite the loss last week, have slowly been getting back on the teams bandwagon, and they will be loud and ready for this big AFC North matchup. The best way for the Steelers to keep down the noise – make some plays and maybe even score on offense early and (gulp) take a lead! I know it’s a thought we haven’t seen from the Steelers for awhile, but it’s their best shot for a win in Cincy Monday.
2. Stay Cool - The Bengals will have high emotion and no doubt will come out the aggressors in this game. That’s the perfect recipe for them to make some mistakes, and maybe even overplay some things and give the Steelers some early shots to make plays. With the emotion high, it’s also a shot for them to commit some bad penalties, like last week late in the game vs the Bears which clinched the win for Chicago. If I am Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, I am coaching the team to play with emotion, but be smart, let the emotion of the Bengals ride them to some errors.
3. Trickery Anyone? – With an offense that has been awful basically for five games if you count the preseason, maybe it’s time for the Steelers to try some new wrinkles in their offense. Of course the argument against this is may be the fact they can’t run simple plays, what makes one think they can do something from the bag of tricks. That’s the beauty of it, no one, at least not right now, would ever expect the Steelers to try something like that, more so early in the game.
Prediction – It’s hard for me to find many reasons to like the Steelers in this game, and therefore mind is going to win over heart and say the Bengals should be able to make some downfield plays against new starter Willie Gay, and while it won’t be easy and the offense will look better, the Steelers simply are still a mess right now, and will need to have a huge effort to get this win. Sad to say, here comes 0-2, and a time to regroup before a National TV game next Sunday night vs the Bears. Cincinnati 30 Pittsburgh 17