Game 7 – Steelers at Bengals Pre-Game(Loss?) Thoughts
Game 7 – 2008 Bengals Season
Steelers at Bengals, October 19th, 2008 – 1pm EST
How will the Bengals Offense Look?
Palmer is out again so Fitzharvard gets the start. Does not look promising. Fitzsalad has been ineffective, for the most part, in his starts and resulting losses.
The Steelers will force Fitz to beat them over the top by stacking the box, stuffing the run and challenging him to make a play.
What is this running game? Is it a broken plan with Perry the ground up bit that gets no purchase? I think so. Even with his two decent runs this year (TD run vs Giants and the one called back vs Dallas) he is just not effective. No matter. He will probably see less touches if Benson can begin to handle more of the Brat schemes for blitz pick-ups and passes.
The Steelers will “box-up” against this line and RB set. I don’t see much hope for them to suddenly find their way against a solid Steelers defense.
Bad game, good game, bad game, good game…so it goes for this lack-luster bunch. This was to be one of the more solid aspects of this team and has so far been its biggest hindrances. Center (not even good enough to mention by name) is deficient, Levi is cracked, and Andrews is a Jeckyll/Hyde. Williams is showing his age and Whit has been solid. This is a unit that needs a massive restructuring.
Collins needs time on the field and with Fitz-sack-a-lot out there, might as well roll out Collins and see how quick he can grow up.
Utecht has been limited in practice and if he does see the field, I have little confidence Fitzflounder will Fitzfind him.
At 0-6, the WR unit needs to begin to mix in some of the youth. Simpson and Caldwell could see their live-action this week.
I think this is one area where the Steelers could be exposed, IF the line gives Fitzforce-it time and IF Fitzflounder can get the ball to the right spot.
How will the Bengals Defense Look?
Simms is the talk right now. With an impressive debut against the Jets in a losing effort, he should see much more play alongside Peko and Harris. Making a bigger impact in the middle could be a key to stopping a decimated Steelers RB group.
With Mendenhall out, Parker questionable it looks like Mewelde Moore will get the start. Moore has been a hot Fantasy pick-up this week, no kidding huh?
Mr. Rivers has been steady so far this year and approaching the half-way mark, has been a minor mention as to impact rookies. He’s certainly an improvement over Landon and the assorted scrubs who paraded through the club last year when the team got the LB injury plague.
Anticipate Zimmer to bring several blitz packages to get to Rothlisberger and force him to make throws he should not make.
Leon Hall has played with relative consistency. J-Joe has been average, even with the ankle issue. What impact Fletcher would have will remain a mystery as he battled a hammy problem and is questionable. The team has promoted Pope again back to the active roster.
The Steelers Limas Sweed, the next WR taken after the Bengals took Simpson, could get a start this week. It will be another view on the decision making and wisdom of the Bengals brain-trust in comparing WR progress to this point, long-term upside not-withstanding.
How will the Special Teams Look?
Leading the NFL in return yards, Glen Holt has been injured most of the week. I think we will see the Bengals wisely give him a well deserved rest and possibly get Caldwell in on the KR duties.
On PR, Chatman keeps on keepin’-on.
Graham is still lingering with injury and it looks like Rayner will handle the kicking duties again.
Injuries – Bunches of nicked up Bengals: Palmer, Mays and Cook are out (Cook to IR) and there is a concern over TJ’s injury (a hammy?) as it could be a re-aggravation of his pre-season strain.
For the Steelers, Casey Hampton has spent time out of practice, as well as RB Parker and RB Davis.
Stadium/Fans – At home, so there is an expectation that the Bengals will be welcomed but that support will give way to boo-birds if the team comes out and Fitzbungles.
Weather – Sunny, mid-60’s, ideal fall football weather.
Historically – Steelers lead 45-30, and are 8-1 at PBS.
Relevant Stat – Bengals are one of only two remaining win-less teams alongside Detroit, who travels to Houston.
Prognosis – 0-7 looks probable. Steelers 27 – Bengals 13