Steelers vs Bengals Week 12 Preview: What to expect

As we edge closer to Week 12 of the NFL season, the spotlight turns to the high-stakes showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals, set to unfold at Paycor Stadium.

This matchup is more than just a game; it’s a fierce rivalry that has seen both teams displaying remarkable performances throughout the season. In this article, we dive into the key moments and statistics that shape this eagerly anticipated contest.

Steelers’ ground game success

The Steelers’ 23-19 Week 10 victory over the Packer, was a testament to their robust ground game. Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris were instrumental, collectively rushing for an impressive 183 yards.

This performance not only cemented their place as the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff picture but also marked a significant turnaround for a team that was struggling offensively, being ranked 31st in first downs per game and 30th in first downs per play prior to this game.

Steelers’ offensive strategy

One of the most refreshing aspects of the Steelers’ recent gameplay has been their ability to execute long drives, a stark contrast to their previous form. In their game against the Packers, they recorded 21 first downs, outdoing the Packers’ 17.

This included remarkable drive sequences of nine, eleven, and eight plays, highlighting a strategic shift that played a crucial role in their victory.

Defensive highlights for the Steelers

While the Steelers’ defense showed areas needing improvement, certain players stood out with exceptional performances.

Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson stepped up significantly, particularly after Kwon Alexander’s early exit from the game.

Keeanu Benton’s presence was felt near the line of scrimmage, showcasing his potential as a game-wrecker, while Joey Porter Jr. effectively contained Christian Watson, limiting him to just two catches for 23 yards.

Steelers’ quarterback analysis

Quarterback Kenny Pickett’s performance has been consistent, if not spectacular. He has shown a tendency to avoid testing the defense downfield and a reluctance to throw in the middle of the field.

Despite making several turnover-worthy throws, Pickett has managed to evade dire consequences, a factor the Steelers will be mindful of in their upcoming game.

Steelers’ secondary struggles

The Steelers’ secondary has been under scrutiny, with Levi Wallace being highlighted as a significant liability. His struggles were evident in the game against the Packers, where he was

outmaneuvered for touchdowns. The team’s need to strengthen this area is urgent, with a call to explore free agency or other avenues to find a replacement.

Bengals’ recent setback

The Bengals’ defense, which had shown promise in previous games, struggled significantly against the Texans. Despite a near pick-six by CTB, they were generally ineffective against both the pass and the run.

The Texans’ offensive strategy, particularly Devin Singletary’s 150 rushing yards and touchdown, exposed weaknesses in the Bengals’ defense that will need addressing before their encounter with the Steelers.

Bengals’ offensive hurdles

Joe Burrow faced considerable challenges in Week 10, exacerbated by the absence of Higgins and a less than fully fit Chase. The offensive line’s inability to provide adequate protection further compounded these issues, as evidenced by Burrow being sacked four times.

The Texans’ secondary also deserves credit for their part in stifling the Bengals’ offensive efforts, keeping plays in front of them and limiting Burrow’s options.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the world of the Bengals, explore ESPN BET Ohio for insightful analysis and predictions.

Keys for the Steelers to beat the Bengals

In their upcoming clash with the Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a few critical strategies to employ for a victorious outcome. Focusing on their strengths and exploiting the Bengals’ recent weaknesses will be essential. Let’s explore the key tactics the Steelers must execute to secure a win.

Exploit the ground game

The Steelers should capitalize on their strong rushing offense, as demonstrated by Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris’ performance against the Packers. The Bengals have shown vulnerability against the run, which the Steelers can exploit.

Maintain prolonged offensive drives

The Steelers’ ability to sustain long drives, as seen in their game against the Packers, will be crucial. Keeping the Bengals’ offense off the field and controlling the clock could tilt the game in their favor.

Pressure on Joe Burrow

The Bengals’ offensive line has shown some weaknesses, particularly in protecting Burrow. The Steelers should focus on increasing their pass rush to exploit this vulnerability, potentially leading to turnovers or sacks.

Shoring up the secondary

Addressing the issues in their secondary, especially the performance of Levi Wallace, is crucial. Improving their pass defense will be key in countering the Bengals’ aerial threats.

Limiting turnover-worthy throws

Kenny Pickett needs to minimize risky throws that could lead to turnovers. Managing the game wisely and making safe, efficient passes could be a safer strategy, especially against the Bengals’ capable secondary.

Keys for the Bengals to beat the Steelers

As the Cincinnati Bengals prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, they need to implement specific strategies to turn the tide in their favor.

Capitalizing on their offensive capabilities and shoring up their defense are pivotal. Here are the key approaches the Bengals should focus on to triumph over the Steelers.

Exploit the Steelers’ secondary weakness

The Bengals should take advantage of the Steelers’ struggling secondary. With Joe Burrow’s passing abilities and assuming the return of key receivers, the Bengals can target the vulnerabilities in the Steelers’ pass defense.

Strengthen defensive line play

Improving the defensive line to counter the Steelers’ strong ground game is essential. Focusing on stopping the run will force the Steelers to rely more on their less consistent passing game.

Protect Joe Burrow

Enhancing protection for Burrow against the Steelers’ pass rush is critical. Giving him more time in the pocket will allow him to exploit his passing strengths and find receivers downfield.

Increase offensive versatility

While dealing with injuries to key receivers, the Bengals need to diversify their offensive strategy, possibly focusing more on the running game or short passes to counter the Steelers’ defensive tactics.

Capitalize on turnovers

The Bengals should be alert to capitalize on any turnover opportunities, especially considering Kenny Pickett’s tendency for turnover-worthy throws. Creating turnovers could provide the Bengals with short fields and scoring opportunities.

Both teams have distinct strengths and weaknesses, and the game will likely hinge on which team can better exploit the other’s vulnerabilities while minimizing their own.

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