Bengals-Steelers, for all the marbles—well, the AFC’s sixth place marbles anyway. If there is one team that it would be most gratifying to see Cincinnati beat to get into the playoffs, it would be Pittsburgh. And this is Andy Dalton’s chance to make the leap into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.
These are the types of games where serious franchise quarterbacks have to show up. Pittsburgh completely shut down the Bengals’ offense after the first quarter back in October. It’s easy to forget now in looking back at a seven point loss, but Cincinnati was completely outplayed through most of that game in getting outgained 431-185.
This go-round feels different though. The Bengals have been hot, the Steelers have been struggling and, more importantly, Pittsburgh is one cornerback injury away from asking Mel Blount to come out of retirement. It is imperative that Dalton is able to move the ball through the air, as the Steelers feature the top ranked defense against the run in the NFL.