Well, here we are, Week 16. Week 15 was a messy game, but the Cincinnati Bengals were able to secure the win in overtime. When the Minnesota Vikings were going for it on 4th & inches in overtime, the hearts of those in the Who Dey Nation began to sink; that was until they were short!
Jake Browning was able to get the ball back and then connect with Tyler Boyd on a critical 3rd & 9, allowing Evan McPherson to get well within field goal range, and kick the game-winning field goal putting Cincinnati at 8-6.
But that was last week, now the Pittsburgh Steelers are next, and if Week 15 taught us anything, it's that things need to improve. While the Steelers are without QB Kenny Pickett, and they lost their game against the Indianapolis Colts, they still have many talented players (like linebacker T.J. Watt). So let's break down four things that need to happen against the Steelers to secure a win.
1) No Jake Browning Interceptions
This is a no-brainer, but mistakes like this have happened, and against the Steelers, it just can't. Browning has had interceptions this season, and a notable one came in Week 15 in the third quarter when the Bengals were facing a large point deficit and needed points bad. Browning has a calm demeanor, like Burrow does, so let's hope that demeanor leads to smart choices in Pittsburgh.
2) More Usage of Tanner Hudson
With the departure of Hayden Hurst, many thought that the Bengals would draft a tight end, and when they didn't, concern rose as to who would fill the void left by Hurst. Tanner Hudson, however, has impressed this season.
Hudson has 33 catches, 298 yards, and a touchdown this season. During Week 10 against the Texans, Hudson was able to secure 13 yards for a first down on a 3rd & 8, so the talent is there. Not to mention in Week 13 against the Jaguars, Hudson caught a pass from Browning for 25 yards on 2nd & 10 in the second. It's safe to say we've got a tight end who can deliver. Now utilize him more.
3) Trey Hendrickson and QB Sacks
Trey Hendrickson has been great this season so far, and hopefully that greatness shines in Pittsburgh. Hendrickson has 24 solo tackles so far, 15 sacks, and two forced fumbles this season; these numbers are remarkable.
During the first quarter of Week 14 against the Colts, Hendrickson achieved a QB sack right away, leading to 2nd & 17, giving the Bengals great momentum. Hendrickson also assisted with another QB sack at the end of the first quarter against the Vikings in Week 15 leading to a 4th & 17, keeping the score at 3-7 with the Vikings leading. Hopefully this greatness continues in Pittsburgh.
4) Getting Everyone the Ball
It's no secret that the Bengals have a talented offense, and they are not shy about making sure that everyone gets the ball to make plays. Ever since Jake Browning took over for Joe Burrow, we've seen just how talented everyone is, and how everyone getting utilized is a great thing.
For example, Joe Mixon and Chase Brown make a great team as we saw in Week 13. But also Tee Higgins is really starting to shine again after Week 15's victory against the Vikings. His touchdown in the fourth quarter of that game could not have come at a better time, making the score 10-17, and putting Cincinnati back in it. Plus, with Ja'Marr Chase's shoulder injury, Higgins doing well came at the perfect time.
If Cincinnati can do all of this and have a solid game, victory will be very possible.