These two AFC North rivals certainly have several individual rivalries, but here are the five you should watch on Sunday.
Bengals’ corners against Antonio Brown
Adam Jones has done one of the best jobs against Brown in the entire NFL, but the Bengals have slowly been transitioning to playing William Jackson more on the outside. This creates the possibility of the second-year corner being matched up with one of the best receivers in the NFL. There is also the chance that Brown lines up against Dre Kirkpatrick or even Darqueze Dennard in the slot.
One thing is for sure; business has not been booming when the Steelers have taken on the Bengals. In the last four games, Brown has one touchdown, and he failed to reach 100 yards in any of those games.
Cedric Ogbuehi against T.J. Watt
This is a matchup the Bengals are hoping continues for a long time. Ogbuehi is the new left tackle for the Bengals, and his season has been a mix of horrible and okay. Watt has played nicely so far for the Steelers. He has three sacks and an interception so far this season. Hopefully, the bye week did Ogbuehi some good, because he will need it to get the best of this young matchup.
Carl Lawson against Alejandro Villanueva
Lawson burst onto the scene in Week 3 against the Packers when he recorded 2.5 sacks against the Packers. He has even forced the Bengals to play Michael Johnson at defensive tackle sometimes in order to get Lawson on the field more.
Villanueva is one of the best tackles in the league, and Ben Roethlisberger is one of the hardest quarterbacks to sack, so it will be interesting to see if Lawson can prove himself yet again by getting some pressure this week. He could make it a long day for the Steelers if he can.
A.J. Green against Artie Burns
Odds are the Bengals will move Green all around the field on Sunday in order to keep the Steelers from keying in on how to take him away as an option. A majority of the time Green should be covered by Burns who is the second-year corner the Steelers took in the first round last season.
The Steelers changed their philosophy from a zone coverage to more of man-to-man coverage to accommodate Burns more this season. This will be a huge test for the young player, but odds are the Steelers will double and possibly even triple cover Green to force one of the other Bengals’ options to beat them.
Vontaze Burfict against Le’Veon Bell
Every running play will likely come down to which one of these two win this matchup. They are each one of the best at what they do. Plus there is the added drama of Bell not being a fan of Burfict after he ended his season in 2015, which Bell and the Steelers thought was a purposeful effort by Burfict.
This was originally supposed to be the game Burfict returned from his five-game suspension from until he got it reduced to a three-game suspension. That reduction could play a key part in how Burfict performs as he had two weeks to knock off the dust plus a bye week to prepare for the Steelers.
Burfict looks great against the Bills, and hopefully, that continues, and he contains Bell this week.