Going into Sundays game, I believe there are a few "KEY" things the Bengals need to do to ensure victory. Although some of the things may seem obvious, all bets are off when we play an AFC North opponent.
Key's to the game (in order of importance):
1) Exploit their CB injury situation - I'm not kicking a horse while it's down, just stating the facts - Ike Taylor: OUT; Keenan Lewis: Bad Hip, and now bad knee (stepped in hole at practice Wed); Cortez Allen: Active 2nd year player with a bum groin; Curtis Brown: Active 2nd year player with 1 PD in career; DeMarcus Van Dyke: OUT; Josh Victorian: Active practice squad player ---- Need Gresham, Green, Hawkins to get targets early and often.
2) Sack Big Ben and/or hit him (*hard*) - If our defensive front can sack Big Ben 4 or more times, and hit him ~7-12 times, turnovers will come.
3) Establish our running game/Stop theirs - As we all know, the Lawfirm has been on fire as of late. Let the big fellas up front get loose, and open up some lanes for Benny, and our passing game will follow. On the other side of the ball, we need to take the running game out of their game plan, which will allow our D-front to tee off on Big Ben.
4) Protect Dalton - You all saw how confused our O-line looked with the Eagles D-line stunts. You don't think Dick LeBeau was licking his chops watching that? Protect Dalton, get some easy passes early, and it will go a long way in this game.
5) Contain Heath Miller - Clearly Big Ben's favorite target. The Steelers offensive, more often than not, plays well when Miller is heavily involved. If you're a Bengals fan, you know how much Miller has killed us in the past.
6) Eliminate the BIG PLAY - Big Ben has been complaining as of late that he doesn't like the style of the offense Todd Haley is calling. Doesn't take a genius to realize that Big Ben wants to take more shots down the field. Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker better be aware and not let anyone (Mike Wallace) behind them.
I know this is a tall order, but if we can do most, if not all the things above, I really believe we can pull this one out. As a die hard fan, I really just want to see us knock the Steelers out of the playoffs and have the momentum going into the Ravens game (for the AFC North Title).
A victory this weekend will make Christmas much more enjoyable... Nonetheless, Merry Christmas WHO DEY NATION!!