Friday, October 26, 2007

Bengals: What are the Chances...?

Last week Pittsburgh played in a city where it rarely wins a game. This week Pittsburgh visits a venue where it has been dominant. The Steelers have won six consecutive games in Cincinnati, the last four of those wins authored by Ben Roethlisberger, who is currently 8-0 in his home state of Ohio. Beyond recent history, there are other reasons to like the Steelers over the Bengals. Most importantly, the Bengals' defense has been injury-riddled (especially at linebacker), and as a result Cincy has been allowing points in bunches. Meanwhile, the Bengals' offense hasn't been quite the same without WR Chris Henry , who is currently serving a league-imposed eight-game suspension. Henry will be back in time for the re-match in Pittsburgh later this year, but we should be thankful he won't be between the white lines this Sunday, as the Steelers' D often struggles to contain him.

Having said all that, Steelers' fans still have at least two good reasons to be worried about this game. First, even without Henry the Bengals still have the kind of offensive firepower that is capable of gouging the Steelers' pass defense. An elite veteran QB like Carson Palmer can do a lot of damage with the receivers he has at his disposal, and with the exception of New England and Indianapolis no passing offense presents more matchup problems for the Steelers' "D" than that of the Bengals. Second, Pittsburgh will need to match the Bengals' intensity, as Cincy will be treating this contest as its biggest game of the season. If Pittsburgh is a little 'flat' (as was the case at Arizona and at Denver), the outcome is likely to be unfavorable.

Ultimately, The Steelyard believes the Steelers will emerge victorious, but we don't feel strongly about it. We give the Steelers a 55 percent chance of defeating the Bengals.

"What are the Chances ...?" is 5-1 this season and 18-4 all-time.

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