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Regular Season Game Thirteen vs Cincinnati: Keys and Prediction

The Steelers won their biggest game of the season last Sunday night with a 13-10 win in Baltimore over the Ravens. Now they come home for three in a row, starting with the all but dead Cincy Bungles, who have lost 9 in a row after starting the year 2-1. The Bengals can’t be overlooked though, as they played the Saints tough a week ago, falling in the final minute after a dumb 4th down penalty. With that, here are this weeks keys and predictions for the Sunday battle with the Bengals.

1. Make the Bengals One-Dimensional – Cedric Benson in both games last season had a high per carry average, but the Steelers did a good job in the first game, holding him to 54 yards on 18 carries, 3 yards per carry. His longest carry was 8 yards. If the Steelers can do that again, it gives them more of a shot to get to Carson Palmer and hopefully will force some mistakes and easy turnovers.

2. Stay Grounded – There’s no doubt this could be a game that could be overlooked with the Jets coming in next week and the Bengals 2-10, but make no mistake about it, the Bengals cannot be disregarded. They played the Saints to a four-point loss and six-point losses each to the Colts, Steelers and 7-points to Atlanta. Last time they played the Steelers dominated the first three quarters, only to have to hold on in the end. Let’s hope they play it like the Raiders game, putting it away by the third quarter.

3. Help Out Ben – It may seem harmless and funny, but the Steelers starting QB has a broken nose, and the run game needs to give him a lift to not put the entire offense on his shoulders for this one. Roethlisberger is 9-4 as a starter against the Bengals, throwing for 163 yards and one touchdown in the MNF victory November 8th. He is just 3-3 at home against Cincinnati, including last season’s 18-12 loss. Let’s see Rashard Mendenhall have a big day, giving Ben a chance to not have to risk further injury with both his foot and face.

Prediction – Just like in the first game, the Steelers have to impose their will on the Bengals, not giving them thoughts of coming to Heniz and scoring the upset. They need to run the ball, pressure Palmer, and protect the ball in what could be some bad weather. There’s no doubt that if the Bengals are in the game late, it will be considered a letdown. I can’t see Mike Tomlin allowing this team to rest after last weeks huge win. Pittsburgh 31 Cincinnati 14

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. The Tony

    December 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

    This is a recent tweet from our favorite wideout the infamous Terrell Owens: “i’ve played w/2 screws & a plate n my ankle and a broken leg! And tht ws a severe injury! A broken nose??? Puh-lease! Lmao!”

    Thank you T.O. for giving the Steelers more bulletin amo.

  2. MEWP07

    December 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    TO, until you’ve had one, shut up!

  3. DrGeorge

    December 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

    The “all but dead” Cincy Bengals are still dangerous. And they aren’t happy campers. This is their Super Bowl. To protect Ben, Arians should continue to emphasize the running game, the short passing game, and control the clock, as he did against the Ravens. He should give Redman more carries to keep Mendenhall fresh down the stretch. Ben’s injuries will keep him in the pocket, where he has become more efficient; actually, he plays better (not as exciting, but more consistent) when he isn’t scrambling and trying to be Superman. For all these reasons, the predicted 31-14 spread predicted above is way too optimistic. The Steelers without Miller, behind a makeshift line, and led by a wounded QB are not going to put up 30 points against any body. As usual, the defense will make the difference in this one. Let’s just be grateful for a win.

    • The Tony

      December 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      As usual I agree with Dr.George. However I don’t feel that the Steelers putting up 30 points against the Bongols is out of the realm of possibility. Their Defense has been decimated with injuries, especially their secondary. As much as I would like to see the quick three step pass, I can’t see the Steelers not attempting a couple of deep passes to Wallace. Fortunately the Bongols pass rush has been putrid for the majority of the season, so protecting Ben shouldn’t prove to be ass difficult. Lets face it, we aren’t going up against the Ravens pass rush in Baltimore. If Ben has ample time to throw the ball then I can easily see the Steelers running away with this one. I agree again with Dr.George that we should run Redman to preserve Mendenhall. Given the oppurtunity, I can see Redman having a 100 yard game. He has proven throughout the duration of the season when given the chance he can and will produce. However this is a game that we can not take lightly. The Bongols are still a pretty good 2-10 team. If are defense comes out flat, then it could be a potential disaster for the Steelers. We need to apply early and consistent pressure on Palmer, and create turnovers. Another factor is going to be Cedrick Benson, granted he has not had the year of last, he still remains a potential threat, that we have to be able to stop. Hopefully we learned from our mistakes last time we meet Cinci and actually decide to make adjustments to cover Owens. Finally we need to put away the Bongols early by punshing them in the mouth and not let them make it a game.

      • DrGeorge

        December 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

        My friend, we don’t disagree. Thirty points is possible, I just don’t think it is likely, even against the Bengals, given the factors above. We put up 30 against the Raiders, but I don’t think we’ve done that before or since this season (I don’t have our game results at hand, so I’m relying on memory), and we were healthier then.

        As for Redman, you’re right on. I’ve been arguing his case since we got him. He is not as nifty a runner as Mendenhall, but he is more powerful and he seldom fumbles. When Mendenhall hits a linebacker, he falls backward; when Redman hits a backer, he falls forward. On many other teams, Redman would be doing the heavy lifting, like McClain for the Ravens. I can certainly see him churning out 100 yd games, if given the chance, and he is faster than he looks.

        As for Ben throwing the bomb, you can bet on it. As long as we have Wallace, we’d be stupid not to throw him the ball deep once in a while. But you can’t make a living doing that constantly. The short passing game, like the run, sets up the deep pass plays. Ben is much better as a QB and he avoids long 3rd downs when he controls his riverboat gambler instincts and takes the short stuff the defense gives him, instead of trying to make big plays when they aren’t there. (This is, by the way, what sets Brady apart from Ben; Brady is more disciplined and patient, willing to take what the defense gives him. Ben is the more gifted athlete, but impatient.)

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