AFC Game Of The Week
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Bengals: Week one wasn’t necessarily the best looking effort, but they got the win nonetheless. The Bengals had trouble stopping the run all game long on Sunday against the Jets and that’s where Vontaze Burfict would’ve come in handy, but he’s suspended for the first three games of the season for his actions in the Wild Card game in January this year and he’s the best when it comes to stopping the run for the Bengals. The offense had no type of issues. A.J. Green basically built a house on Revis Island and had his way with a guy who was once considered to be the premier corner in the league. They got the first game out the way and now it’s onto a game that I know they’ve had circled on their calendars when the schedules released in April. It’s a battle with the bitter rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Steelers: I was extremely impressed with them on Monday night. Offensively, they were able to get what they want even without Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell but what really had my attention was what they were able to do on defense. They kept a pretty good Washington Redskins offense contained all game long basically and I said on Wednesday night on the radio if they were able to keep this going throughout the season, they will be a complete team in the NFL by far. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are basically picking up where they left off as far as a QB/WR tandem and they’ve yet to miss a beat. When I look at the Steelers defense, they look more comfortable now in the second season of Keith Butler’s defense. For the first time since their epic Wild Card win, they will face the Bengals in their home opener on Sunday afternoon.
Bengals Player(s) To Watch– The Offensive Front: In their game on Sunday at the Jets, Andy Dalton was sacked a total of seven times and was hit numerous times when he dropped back. Sunday, this is something they clearly need to fix up before facing a Steelers team that can get after the quarterback. This offensive line needs to hold its own and keep Dalton protected.
Steelers Player To Watch– Ladarius Green: The Steelers are usually quiet when it comes to the free agency aspect of things. This year, they were sneaky in their signing of free agent tight end Ladarius Green and I’m high on this move because he brings an added dimension to the passing game. When Heath Miller still played, he was Ben’s security blanket. With Green, you can use him in a variety of ways. He can be used in the slot, you can flank him wide as if he were a receiver and he’s a nice threat in the red zone. With Bryant gone for the year, he can become Ben’s second option.
Prediction: This is the best rivalry in the NFL right now. There’s no love between these two. They’ll disrespect one another in their pressers before the game even starts, they get tangled up with one another and they want to beat each other up when they play one another. I like the Steelers in this one. Steelers 23 Bengals 17