Saturday will be an ugly game. Not only because it’s two teams that hate each other, but also because there is 50% chance of rain at game time for Saturday evening, according to weather.com. The Steelers offense relies heavily on their passing attack, and mother nature will be hindering that for them. Their running attack is also in question with DeAngelo Williams still in a walking boot and now reported out according to an NFL.com report by Ian Rapoport.
Establishing the running game was going to be huge for the Bengals in the postseason, and especially for this game. The Bengals have made the personnel changes, Jake Fisher to H-Back and Cedric Ogbuehi has done very well when called upon in extra tackle formations. Expect the Bengals to come out and play old-school, smash-mouth AFC North football with a steady of big back Jeremy Hill with Giovanni Bernard sprinkled in for a change of pace. The Bengals will have to beat the blitz of the Steelers 3-4 defense, and when they do, expect big plays, i.e. Jeremy Hill’s 38-yard touchdown run against Baltimore last week.
I don’t think the Steelers will be comfortable running against the stout defense of the Bengals with third-string, second year, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Toussaint is entering Saturday’s game with just 24 career carries. They may continue to try and throw the ball all over the field, and if they do, our ball hawking secondary must take advantage of tipped balls, missed catches, and be solid in making tackles. Reggie Nelson is tied for the top in picks this season, with 3 alone in their two match ups against the Steelers.
I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of points in this game because of the weather, if it does rain like forcasted. I think the Bengals are more poised for January weather football. I predict, Bengals on top 13-10.
*Weather, although predictable, can change at any time.