When the Steelers take the field on Sunday night in Paul Brown Stadium, they will be greeted with a different look from the home crowd than years past. This year the Bengals, recognizing that they and the Steelers share the common black team color, have decided to erase the black and have asked the Cincinnati faithful to adorn themselves in orange to “Orange-Out” the away team.
This game has the ability to quickly turn into a home crowd atmosphere for Pittsburgh. Their fans travel well and they are the “Cowboys” of our time. If the Bengals begin to falter in the game, the tides will definitely turn in the stadium. Therefore the team, also wearing their orange jerseys for the first time, needs to figure out how to “Orange-Out” the Steelers on the field too.
The Bengals have many weapons in Dalton and their receiving group. They will need to utilize them Sunday night. It is no secret that the Steelers defense has been decimated by age and injuries. Their number one Safety Troy Polamalu will sit out on Sunday. So if Andy can settle down in the pocket and make smarter decisions with the ball, he should be able to pick apart the Steelers defense with Green, Hawkins, and Gresham. The key will be ball security and Dalton’s ability to see the whole field of play.
Normally, teams will run the ball in order to open up the passing game. This is not a luxury for Cincinnati, who has seen their big ticket offseason pick-up BenJarvus Green-Ellis, struggle all season on the ground. The Steelers are tough up front and will be coming after Dalton and the running backs. However, running will still be essential to getting the Bengals a win. The Bengals will need to pass in order to open up the run defense. If they can do this, BJGE may have his first big game against the Steelers.
We are still talking about the Bengals defense. They need to continue to improve this week against an always tough Roethlisberger and Steelers offensive attack. Pittsburgh’s offensive line is banged-up again this season and that leaves a lot of opportunity for a potentially ferocious Bengals defensive stand. The Steelers are coming to the table with uncertainty in the running game. Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman have yet to practice this week and unless they are able to go during Friday’s team drills, it looks like third year back Jonathan Dwyer will get the start. Though, he does not have as much NFL experience as the other backs on the team, he still could be a threat on the ground. The Bengals defensive front should be able to contain him if everyone does their job.