The Cincinnati Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. The Bengals lead the division with a 6-2 record but both the Ravens, who also have a 6-2 record, and the Steelers, who have a 6-3 record, are nipping at their heels. The Steelers are coming off a home loss to the Ravens, who swept them this year, and will be looking to get back on track and keep their playoff hopes alive when they travel to Cincinnati.
The Steelers have the third best pass defense and the sixth best run defense which will go up against the Bengals' 22nd ranked offense. If the Bengals can't run the ball against the Steelers, or if they get behind, they'll have to throw the ball more often than maybe they're comfortable with. While quarterback Andy Dalton will have Jermaine Gresham and Andre Caldwell to throw to, his main targets will likely be Jerome Simpson and rookie No. 1 receiver A.J. Green.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, A.J. Green has an overall rating of -3.4 with a rating of 4.5 when it comes to receiving. He has caught 62.5 percent of the passes thrown to him. He has 599 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 40 receptions and he has only dropped four passes.
He will likely be going head-to-head with Ike Taylor, when the Steelers are in man-to-man coverage. Taylor has a -5.7 rating overall and he has a -3.6 rating when it comes to pass coverage. He has only allowed receivers that he has faced to catch 35.7 percent of the passes thrown to them and quarterback have an average rating of 53.5 when they throw to receivers he is covering.
The Bengals No. 2 receiver is Jerome Simpson. He has an overall rating of -9.0 with a receiver rating of -4.4. He has caught 26 passes for 410 yards and two touchdowns. He has caught 50 percent of the passes thrown his way and has dropped six passes.
Simpson will likely face William Gay, who has an overall rating of -4.8 and a coverage rating of -6.6. He has allowed receivers to catch 64.1 passes that are thrown to them when he's covering and quarterbacks have a 100.3 rating when they throw to receivers he's covering.
Of course much more goes into play than just the receiver-cornerback matchup. Andy Dalton's performance and how much time he has to throw the ball is a factor as well is what kind of coverage each receiver receives. However, if Green and Simpson go up against the Steelers' two starting cornerbacks, Gay and Taylor, I believe that the Bengals receivers, especially Green, have the edge.