Players to Watch For:
WR A.J. Green
With a humongous game against the Bears (162 yards, 2 touchdowns), Green looked like an elite WR vs a very tough Bears D. This week Green and the Bengals will be up against a Steeler’s defense that only allowed 125 yards last week to the Titans. If Green and the Bengals can penetrate the Steelers secondary, they will be unstoppable this season and could actually make a difference in the AFC.
RB Giovanni Bernard
After playing 2nd fiddle to Benjarvus Green-Ellis on Sunday against the Bears (4 carries for 22 yards), Bernard will definitely see more carries and more opportunities to prove he can be the starter that the Bengals drafted 37th overall.
Pittsburgh Players to Watch:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
With Le’Veon Bell and LaRod Stephens-Howling both out for Monday Night’s game, the entire offensive burden will fall on Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulders. Mike Tomlin will go to the pass against a Bengals D that allowed 2 TDs and 242 yards to Jay Cutler and the Bears. Although Big Ben’s receiving talent may not be the greatest, he can still sling it deep or even, when duty calls, run it for some nice yards. Look for Big Ben to be a critical part of the Steelers success.
Last week the Steelers secondary played lights out as they held the Titans to only 229 yards (best in the league). Granted Jake Locker and Tennessee doesn’t have the strongest of receivers, Pittsburgh still played well. Tonight against a little bit more explosive offense, the secondary will have to buckle down against A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. If Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark can shut down the Bengal’s passing game and force the Bengals to run the ball, then the game will be all Pitt. If not, the Steelers could be looking at a demeaning 0-2 start.
Although the Bengals have a 0-1 record, they come in as one of the more underrated teams in the NFL. With 3rd year dynamo WR A.J. Green and a pretty solid rushing attack, the Bengals have many people’s Super Bowl seal of approval. Cincinnati could work a little more on getting rookie Giovani Bernard the ball instead of Benjarvus Green-Ellis who rushed for a paltry 25 yards on 14 carries (1.79 yards-per-carry). The Law Firm does have seniority near the goal-line but otherwise give Bernard a chance on the more open field carries where he can chew up yards like pretzel sticks. The offense is undeniably good, but how good is the defense? Last season the Bengals were ranked 6th in the entire league in total yardage and 8th in points allowed. Unfortunately against the Bears offense, the Bengals allowed Jay Culter and the Bears throw for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns, while RB Matt Forte added 50 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. I have confidence that with hardly any decent rushing options and a lack-luster passing game for the Steelers that the Bengals will come out on top in tonight’s game. One question that still remains is whether or not Andy Dalton and Green will be able to connect as many times against arguably one of the best defenses in football. Contrary to popular belief, tonight’s game will be interesting. Although in the long run it will be Bengals on top, not by much though.
Bengals 20 Steelers-17