The Cincinnati Bengals head into Heinz Field to take on division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a game where each team is coming off a Week 2 loss. Here are three key players who need to step up for the Bengals to win this game.
Bengals who must step up
3. Eli Apple
The expectation is likely that Trae Waynes doesn’t play this week; however, with him practicing Thursday, there is a chance he sees the field; it could be limited action as he eases his way back, which makes Eli Apple the starting number two cornerback again or a critical rotational corner. Altogether he had played solid, but a lot of the pass interference or blown coverages this season have involved Apple.
Those types of things won’t be able to happen on the road against a Steelers team capable of making big plays so giving them free first downs will only hurt the Bengals chances of escaping Pittsburgh with a win. Apple so far has been the most significant concern throughout the defense. Not to say he has misplayed, but he has played inconsistently, which can lead to some big plays for the opposing team.
With the likelihood that Diontae Johnson is out for this one, it will take some pressure off the secondary, but having the responsibilities of covering JuJu Smith-Shuster and Chase Claypool will be an arduous task. Eli Apple will be a vital piece that must step up for the Bengals on Sunday if they want a better chance at winning this one.