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5 keys to a Bengals victory over the Steelers in Wild Card weekend

We take a look at the five biggest keys to a Bengals victory in the Wild Card round of the playoffs at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Playoffs baby. There are questions galore surrounding the Bengals and Steelers Wild Card game. The number one question is likely, how can the Bengals end their playoff slump? As the Bengals roared to an insane start this season, it was always met with "yeah, but the playoffs...". Now Cincinnati has the opportunity to shed that skin and move on to the next step. How can they do it? Here are our five keys.

Worry about the known

Fitzgerald Toussaint, filling in for the injured DeAngelo Williams, who was filling in for Le'Veon Bell, is not going to beat you. This isn't a second string running back capable of picking up where the starter leaves off. This is the guy that does not play. He is a third option for a team that has averaged just 2.3 yards on 18 carries during the regular season and did not have a catch. He just doesn't play. All of the talk about being able to run the ball should be forgotten. Toussaint can't and won't beat the Bengals.

The Steelers were a passing team before the injuries to their running backs. This makes them lean on that phase of the game even more. The Bengals should be planning for that. Making manners interesting is that Saturday night is supposed to be a very wet one with heavy rain coming down starting around 6:00 p.m.

Turn overs

You know what kills a passing attack? Interceptions. And Ben Roethlisberger has been gifting them like Oprah giving diet advice to her audience. You get an interception and you get an interception and you...

Ben has thrown multiple picks in his last three games. Keep to this trend and the Bengals walk away with this game, easy.

Throw the ball

Hey, we have a young quarterback with very little NFL experience, and no postseason experience. Some would think this is the time to run the ball and limit the passing game. YOU CAN NOT DO THIS! Let the kid toss the ball down the field. You are not facing the Steel Curtain of old, Pittsburgh had the league's 30th-ranked pass defense during the regular season. This is not a feared secondary. Let AJ McCarron loose.

Protect McCarron

Speaking of letting him loose, let's keep him clean too. When the Bengals started this season shot out of a cannon, one thing they were really good at was keeping Andy Dalton clean. We should extend the same courtesy to McCarron. Give him time and he will find holes in the secondary.

The Steelers finished the regular season with 48 sacks. This is 15 more than they had last season. One way to incredibly improve your pass coverage is sack the quarterback. The Bengals can not allow the Steelers to penetrate and disrupt.

Get out of your head

Cincinnati is the better football team. The Bengals have the better running game, special teams and a far better defense. On paper, this is a matchup that should favor the Bengals. Then there is all the other stuff: the fighting, the toughness and the fact that the Steelers are in the Bengals heads. All of that needs to be forgotten. This is a new season where you win or go home. The Bengals can answer so many questions on Saturday night but none of that matters if they don't get the W.

No stupid penalties, no fighting. The biggest message that can be sent to the Steelers is ending their season.

Do I think the Bengals cower this year?