Black And Blue Football

Intriguing Game- Week Seven

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

Bengals: They started 0-3 and immediately after the second loss of the season, the Bengals decided to fire their then-offensive coordinator, Ken Zampese after scoring a total of nine points in their first two games. That’s unacceptable, especially when you have a quarterback that can get the ball down the field when he’s taking care of it especially and one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in A.J. Green. The team decided to stay in-house and promote their quarterbacks coach, Bill Lazor to assume the offensive coordinator responsibilities and they still have quite a bit to work on. The Bengals are ranked 30th right now in points per game averaging 16.8 per game which shocks me because they’ve always been a unit to score with ease and display balance with Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard out your backfield and Dalton and Green have established themselves as one of the best quarterback/receiver tandems in the game today. The shining point for them has been their defense as they are ranked second in the league in points allowed per game, yards and passing yards per game. Just imagine if they had one year when everything just panned out for them, how scary of a team could they be? Would they have a playoff win by now? They haven’t won a playoff game since the year I was born (1990). On Sunday, they’ll play their third divisional game of the season already.

Steelers: I was extremely disappointed in the actions of the Pittsburgh Steelers after their shocking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars when Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in the game. During his media availability, he stated that maybe he just doesn’t have it anymore. You don’t say that to the media because one, they simply have a way of twisting words around (we all know that by now), secondly, if you feel that way, then maybe you should’ve retired because you were contemplating it throughout the off-season and lastly, say that behind closed doors in the locker room. In the Steelers two losses, I noticed that they were getting away from their identity as an offense. This is a team that likes to spread their receivers out on the perimeter and they want to go deep down the field and make that deep pass. At one point, they were attacking defenses with a short and intermediate passing game and that isn’t them. I’m not saying what Antonio Brown did was right by throwing water coolers on the sideline, but he was frustrated because he wasn’t getting the ball and he was open on several occasions. Last Sunday in Kansas City, they got back to the basics. They established Le’Veon Bell and the receivers worked their way down the field. That was a big win for them over a previously unbeaten Chiefs team. Week seven is here and it’s Bengals week.

Bengals Player To Watch: Jeremy Hill– The Bengals need to get him the ball early and often. Especially with the Steelers glaring weakness on defense has been stopping the run. Cincinnati averages only 3.2 yards a rush and has only scored one rushing touchdown this season. Bill Lazor has to get this ground game going.

Steelers Player To Watch: Joe Haden– He knows this division extremely well and he’s now on a contender. While playing with the Cleveland Browns, he always lined up on the side that A.J. Green would line up on and he’s always had success against one of the best receivers in the game. He’s a physical corner that always gives Green fits at the line of scrimmage. Expect to see more of that on Sunday.

Final Analysis: These battles have become quite entertaining over the years. These two teams don’t like each other. Additional flags will be thrown, you will see some late hits and it’s just a physical game when they meet. The Steelers running game is starting to hit its stride and when they have Bell going, great things happen. However, this will be the best-run defense they’ve seen all year. I’d find a way to get Bell the ball in other capacities. For the Bengals, keep Andy Dalton protected.

Prediction: Steelers 21 Bengals 13