Bengals at Steelers: Crossing Enemy Lines with Kim Meyers of Still Curtain

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams (36) hits Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) during the second quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams (36) hits Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) during the second quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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We had a chance to sit down with the editor of Still Curtain, Kim Myers, about Sunday’s Bengals-Steelers game in Pittsburgh.

Stripe Hype: The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers have remained fairly quiet heading into Sunday’s match up, strategic mind games, or focus on preparation for a division rival?

Kim Myers: I feel like I’ve heard plenty of talk about this rivalry game. Both sides are keeping it pretty professional so far but the buildup has been definitely hard to escape. I hope it lives up to the hype.

I think that each team has a different reason for being quiet leading into the game. The Steelers come into this game with a whole lot of expectations for this season in spite of the players who are missing and will be missing for some time for either injuries or suspensions. They can’t afford to falter early on if they want any of those expectations to come to fruition.

Plus, they don’t have the pressure of this rivalry. That’s how it’s different for Cincinnati. They’re the team that imploded in the last meeting so they’re the ones who must be reminded to keep their cool and not let things get out of hand. The Steelers have the benefit of sitting back and not having their worst moments of last season replayed all week.

I think that is what has kept the Bengals quiet; they have to appear to be all business and not carry the baggage of the last meeting into this game.

SH: Vontaze Burfict and Le’Veon Bell will both miss this game, where the physical rivalry started. Does the makeup of this game change without those two lining up on opposite sides of the ball?

KM: I think the missing pieces for both teams will display how much this game is different from last season. There’s no denying the absence of Burfict and Bell will be felt for their respective teams but other Bengals like Mohamed Sanu and Reggie Nelson being gone will be noticed as well I think. The Steelers’ running game doesn’t suffer without Bell because DeAngelo Williams is more than capable but Bell (when healthy) does add an extra wrinkle to the offensive attack that can’t be replaced.

I don’t doubt that guys like Domata Peko and Carlos Dunlap will keep this game plenty intense for Cincy without Burfict being on the field.

Don’t forget to check out our answers over at Still Curtain

SH: The Steelers had a slow start but strong finish against the Redskins, what will the Steelers be looking to do to beat one of the better secondaries in the league? 

KM: I think they’ll be looking to do more of the same against the Bengals. The goal for the Steelers offense is to score at least 30 points a game. To put 38 up on Washington in the first game without Bell, Ladarius Green and even Markus Wheaton gave them a ton of confidence.

The battles the tight ends will have might determine how well this offense can perform. Jesse James is no Heath Miller as far as blocking so he’ll have to continue to step up in that regard.

What do the Steelers need to do in order to stop A.J. Green and this passing game?

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They’ll need to get after Andy Dalton more effectively than the Jets did. I can’t wrap my head around how they can put Dalton on the ground that many times and walk away from that game with a loss. They sacked Dalton seven times but Green had almost 200 receiving yards.

The Steelers don’t have a corner who can go toe-to-toe with Green so the best plan of attack is to go after Dalton and disrupt him and throw as many different looks at him as they can to keep him from finding Green and hope for the best.

Prediction time: Who wins and what is the final score?

This is tough because I think the Steelers have the better team this year talent-wise on the roster but historically the road team has done better in this series it seems like. I’m still too much of a homer in my core to ever pick against the Steelers, though. I say Pittsburgh’s offense keeps rolling and the defense gives Dalton more than he can handle and the Steelers win 32-28 in a close one.

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