The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati coming off an embarrassing home loss to Tennessee where the offense was spotted two points on the opening play, then failed to score until the final two minutes. (I broke down some reasons last week). The Bengals loss is more forgivable. It was a back and forth game on the road against a quality opponent. The way it ended, though, with Rey Maualuga costing his team a final opportunity, left a bad taste.
So both of these teams come in desperate for redemption, for different reasons. Oh, and even though this is a series that has historically been dominated by Pittsburgh, it is also a bitter rivalry where the teams do not like each other. The loser isn’t in horrible shape. Baltimore is sitting at 1-1, and still has plenty of questions themselves. Whoever wins will be tied for the lead.
Pittsburgh will have to deal with a pretty good line and star defensive tackle Geno Atkins up front. Jurrell Casey tore them up last week, and Atkins is more than capable of making life very difficult for Roethlisberger. Even though Roethlisberger has a history of holding the ball too long, I didn’t think any of last week’s issues were related to him holding it too long.
The other side of the ball, though, is probably the key. Pittsburgh’s defense did not generate any big plays and allowed too many conversions by the Titans. The Bengals should be more of a test, and if the Steelers hope to pull the upset as a rare sizable road dog (7 points), the curtain must stay up for a little longer on the defensive side.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]