Ever since Pittsburgh won the Week 2 contest 24-16 (with the help of some questionable calls by the refs), many Bengals fans have been waiting for the rematch. We hope the team has, too. This weekend is Cincy’s best chance to hit a high note for the season since the playoffs are practically out of reach. The first meeting between these teams is a big reason why.
Pittsburgh’s win in the Steel City allowed them to take a one-game lead in the AFC North. That took the wind out of Cincinnati’s sails – and the team showed it by losing 3 of its next 4 games. With the Steelers in a tight race for a playoff spot (either through the division title or wild card), it would be sugary sweet for the Cincinnati Bengals to give their arch-rivals’ postseason chances a kick in the jock. Here are things to keep an eye on come kickoff.
3 Things About the Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers Game
1. Burfict is back. Vontaze Burfict had a big game on December 13, 2015 against the Steelers (11 tackles). He didn’t play in Week 2 because of his suspension. That means he should be itching to get a crack at the Steelers, particularly running back Le’Veon Bell (see below). Let’s hope Burfict can keep himself in check …. until the right time.
2. Will tempers flare? Forget the spread – what’s the over/under on penalty flags for this game? This rivalry is one of the fiercest in the NFL and the last few contests haven’t done much to douse the fire. There were bad ref calls in the last game. Le’Veon Bell said a few months ago that he thinks Burfict tried to injure him on purpose last year. The words are already flying. The limbs may soon follow suit.
3. An even matchup. On paper, this looks almost dead even. The Steelers are allowing 19.7 points per game, and the Cincinnati Bengals are giving up 20.7. Pittsburgh averages 384 yards of offense compared to the Bengals’ 388. Cincy is giving up 368 yards per game; only 10 more than their opponent. Heck, even the spread is only +3 to the home-team Bengals. In a contest this tight, one small mistake can make one big difference. Who’ll crack first?