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Bengals Gab Week 13 NFL Preview – Cincinnati at Pittsburgh


Green (44 receptions, 6 TD) returned from a one-game absence due to a knee injury suffered on his touchdown grab versus the Steelers to give the Bengals their rookie one-two punch back last week. He ended with just three catches, but totaled 110 yards and leads all rookies with 745 receiving yards as he continues to make big plays. Dalton (2509 passing yards, 16 TD, 12 INT) threw for 270 yards versus the Browns, and his touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham (37 receptions, 5 TD) broke Greg Cook’s club rookie record for that category. Dalton was sacked twice by the Browns, but the Bengals have still allowed just 17 quarterback takedowns on the season. Gresham led the way with five receptions for 68 yards a week ago and wide receiver Andre Caldwell (35 receptions, 3 TD) added three catches for 24 yards. Running back Cedric Benson (740 rushing yards, 5 TD) also had a solid game for Cincinnati’s 18th-ranked offense, running for 106 yards with a score on 21 carries despite a leg injury that briefly sidelined him before halftime. Benson also caught four balls for 24 yards.

Once again, the Steelers should provide quite a challenge for the Bengals offense. Pittsburgh ranks second in total defense (277.5 ypg), is third against the pass and is allowing 17.1 points per game to rank fourth in the league. The Steelers held the Chiefs to a mere 252 yards of offense last week, including just 90 on the ground. Pittsburgh has held its opponents to under 100 net rushing yards in four of its last five games and gave up 23 points or less for a 10th straight outing. Both Keenan Lewis (31 tackles) and safety Ryan Mundy (30 tackles) logged their first career interceptions last Sunday night, while cornerback Ike Taylor (29 tackles, 1 INT) grabbed the 12th of his career. Mundy also led the team with 10 tackles after stepping in for Polamalu (64 tackles, 1 sack) and linebacker Lawrence Timmons (54 tackles, 1 INT) added seven. Defensive end Brett Keisel (31 tackles, 3 sacks) recovered a fumbled snap in the victory. Pittsburgh did come up with just one sack, by linebacker Jason Worilds (15 tackles, 1 sack) as he started a third straight game in place of the injured LaMarr Woodley (36 tackles, 9 sacks, 1 INT). Woodley is questionable to return this week from a hamstring pull.


Pittsburgh’s offense struggled to post just 290 yards against the Chiefs, well below its season average of 374.5 per game. Roethlisberger (3070 passing yards, 17 TD, 10 INT) completed 21 of his 31 pass attempts, but totaled only 193 yards while getting sacked once and intercepted one time. Wide receivers Antonio Brown (48 receptions, 1 TD) and Hines Ward (31 receptions, 2 TD) ended with four catches each, with Brown leading all receivers with 81 yards. Big- play threat Mike Wallace (55 receptions, 6 TD) was held to only two catches for 17 yards by Kansas City, while Saunders made the first touchdown grab of his career. Starting tight end Heath Miller (39 receptions, 2 TD) was held to one 20-yard catch. The Steelers rank 18th in rushing yards and nearly reached their season average versus the Chiefs by posting 108 yards on 28 carries. Starter Mendenhall (574 rushing yards, 6 TD) had 57 of them on 17 carries, while Isaac Redman (267 rushing yards, 1 TD) added a few bursts with 22 yards on three carries.

The Bengals also field a stingy defensive unit, though the Browns were able to find some holes last week. Cincinnati is ranked eighth in points allowed (19.5 per game) and fifth against the rush (92.7 ypg), but Cleveland posted 20 points while racking up 134 yards on the ground, the most the Bengals have allowed this season. Cincinnati did hold Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy to 151 yards passing and sacked him twice, upping its season total to 28. Safety Reggie Nelson (60 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INT) also came up with an interception that was the direct result of pressure on the quarterback. Tackle Geno Atkins (32 tackles, 6.5 sacks) had a sack to increase his total that leads all NFL interior lineman, while end Robert Geathers (24 tackles, 2.5 sacks) also got to the quarterback. Linebackers Rey Maualuga (59 tackles) and Thomas Howard (63 tackles) were all over the field against Cleveland, logging 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Cornerback Adam Jones started opposite Nate Clements (41 tackles, 1 INT) last week as the secondary continues to play minus Leon Hall (32 tackles, 2 INT), who is out for the season with an Achilles injury. End Carlos Dunlap (15 tackles, 3 sacks) sat out for the second time in three games last Sunday due to a hamstring issue and is questionable for this weekend.


One matchup to watch is Green against Polamalu, assuming the Pittsburgh safety is ready to play. Green was held to one catch versus the Steelers, but it was a 36-yard scoring grab in which he outfought Polamalu and another Steeler. Green did suffer his knee injury on the play, but last week showed he is still running full speed.

Pittsburgh’s defense has always lived up to is reputation, but the defending AFC champs had trouble creating turnovers early on. Pittsburgh logged just six over its first nine games, but has six in the past two. The Steelers recorded three interceptions a week ago for the first time since Jan. 2 of last season.

Dalton has thrown 12 interceptions on the season, with five of those coming against the Ravens and Steelers. If the Bengals are going to reach the playoffs and have success, the young quarterback must perform against the better defenses.

Prediction – Despite sweating out a Sunday night win over the Chiefs, I love the Steelers in this game. They are back at Heinz, where they have lost just once, and they should get LaMarr Woodley back, and he should create a spark along with Troy Polamalu. While the Bengals are still smellin the taste of possibly making it as a wild card, don’t forget they have beaten the teams they are supposed to be beating, but have struggled against fellow playoff contenders. The offense should have success, and the D will make it tough on Dalton to make plays. Steelers 27 Bengals 17

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