The Cincinnati Bengals are at a crossroad. Having started 3-1, then dropped two consecutive games to lesser teams, their season is in jeopardy. They stand at 3-3, but due to a weak AFC, they are in the thick of the playoff race. Unfortunately, the schedule remaining is a difficult one, littered with teams who are also fighting to make the postseason, and they’ll have to get some wins in tough games in order to succeed. This journey begins on Sunday night with divisional rival, and long-time nemesis, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers haven’t had the kind of season they envisioned either, sitting at 2-3 and in third place in the AFC North. Injuries and a poor running game have hampered them, and if ever they were in a vulnerable position, this is it. The Bengals can gain a large measure of confidence by getting a win on the national stage and take a major step forward, or, with a loss, they could fall to 3-4, which could spell the end of their playoff dreams. Here are the keys to getting a big win.
Get the Run-game Going
After rushing at a clip of over five yards per carry in week one, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has lost his effectiveness, averaging just a little over three ypc since then. As previously noted, this has led to teams to concentrate more on stopping the passing game and renders all play-action useless. Defenses are no longer biting on fakes, instead sticking to their receiver and jumping routes, leading to turnovers. The Bengals have to get the running game going early against the Steelers, which won’t be easy, as Pittsburgh has a top ten rushing defense. Establishing the run early will open up passing lanes for Andy Dalton to be able to find his receivers and get the offense back on track, which as been derailed for the past few weeks.