CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals hauls in a catch for the first down at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Good morning Bengals Nation. Only one day until the Bengals big match up against the Steelers. So hopefully you prepare the right way; with six cases of beer, a ton of cheeseburgers or some other type of snack, and whatever else completes your game day experience.
Here are some keys for the Bengals on Sunday.
- The defense has to show up right away. During the first showdown the Steelers scored 14 points on their first two possessions. That cannot happen this week. The Bengal can't afford to let that happen. That was a major contributing factor as to why they lost. The defense has to be ready to play as soon as the game starts, not when they are already down by two or three touchdowns.
- There has to be some sort of running game. Last time the Bengals did manage to run for over 100 yards. That's what they will need this week, but that's going to be a challenge considering Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott have never fared well in Pittsburgh. They only seem to do damage against the Steelers in Cincinnati. Benson is going to have to pound through some holes and fight for every yard. But as long as he comes through when the Bengals need him (crucial second and third down situations) I guess that's all that really matters.
- Put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and sack the crap out of him. With Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap being doubtful for the game it's going to be vital for the Cincinnati defensive line to put pressure on Roethlisberger and not let him have an eternity in the pocket to make a pass. The more pressure the better. Also it would be awesome if Roethlisberger was sacked 940,007 times. I know that won't happen, but the more sacks the better. It means Cincinnati is putting pressure on him.
- Stay healthy. Last time A.J. Green spent a majority of the game on a stationary bike after injuring his knee on his lone catch, which was an epic touchdown. But after Green exited the game, the Bengals receiving group seemed to forget how to catch the ball. That can't happen tomorrow.
- Which Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell is going to show up? Will it be the Simpson and Caldwell from the Baltimore Ravens game where the receivers caught a combined 11 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown or the ones from the Steelers game that caught a combined three passes for 25 yards and no touchdowns. The Bengals need to get some sort of production out of Simpson. As for Caldwell, if he doesn't do anything then hopefully Andrew Hawkins will step up and come through for the Bengals. Hawkins has demonstrated that he can be a reliable receiver and that's something the Bengals need.
- Marvin Lewis believes that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisbeger is the catalyst of their offense.
- Here's the latest news and rumblings from around the AFC North.
- Here is the latest injury and practice report for the Bengals and Steelers. As it stands, the Bengals secondary is slightly depleted due to a series of injuries to some key players. Also, Bengals running back Cedric Benson did return to practice, while defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Nate Clements missed practice while nursing injuries.
- Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.
- In the offseason the Bengals decided to address their lack of depth at linebacker by adding Manny Lawson. And so far this season he has been a major contributing factor for the Bengals defense.
- When talking about rookie of the year it always seems as if it's Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's to lose. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has also been part of the discussion for the rookie of the year due to his outstanding performance. But now it's time for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green to enter the rookie of the year discussion.
- The Bengals pass defense has shown little drop-off since Leon Hall's season-ending injury.