The 6-3 Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the 6-2 Cincinnati Bengals in week ten and unlike the last few meetings between these two clubs there is no Carson Palmer or Chad Ochocinco. Instead in Cincinnati there is a top five defense, a new exciting rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton, and finally Marvin Lewis has rid his roster of the bad apples to lead this team to second place in the AFC North.
The Steelers have dropped below the Bengals in the standings after losing last Sunday night to the Baltimore Ravens, and must rebound with a win in week ten before their season sputters out of control. Many are calling this game the true test to see if these Bengals are for real as they will match up against the defending AFC Champion and bitter division rival.
The Pittsburgh defense has to concern themselves with Dalton who has 1,696 yards along with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Dalton has driving force in guiding the Bengals to the great start. His favorite receiver A.J. Green who has 40 catches for 599 yards and five touchdowns.
There are many things that the Steelers must do to be successful this weekend in Paul Brown stadium.
Time Of Possession - The Steelers have to control the clock and dictate the game flow. Two weeks ago against the New England Patriots, the Steelers were able to control the clock, which kept the defense fresh. This could be the recipe for success as the aging defense needs to rest and stay sharp.
Road Warriors - In the Steelers last nine trips to Cincinnati they have gone 8-1 and overall this season they are 2-2 on the road. The Steelers have to continue their winning ways in Cincinnati but the new cast may give them a real test.
Mistake Free Football - In week nine there were turnovers, bad execution and excessive amounts of penalties. The Steelers need to correct this issues as a win in week ten is going to be needed. The Bengals defense has thrived on opponents mistakes as they have 12 takeaways with nine fumbles and three interceptions, meaning Ben Roethlisberger has to protect the football otherwise it could be a disaster.
Pressure Dalton - Dalton is a rookie and has yet to truly feel what real pressure is like in the NFL. The Steelers can provide him that wonderful learning lesson as they did to Tom Brady just two weeks ago. Then again which Steelers are going to show up, the one who gave it to Brady all day or the ones who barely got to Joe Flacco when the game was on the line. By giveing Dalton pressure they will create something they have had very little of this season, which is turnovers.
Run the football - Although the running game has suffered this year, there is no better time than against Cincinnati to get it working again. If Rashard Mendenhall can become the impact player he has been in the two previous season the Steelers will be fortunate. Not only is it important to get Mendenhall running hard again, this will also set up play action and the deep pass to Mike Wallace.
Create turnovers – Four turnovers in nine games isn't very good and the Steelers need to start creating more opportunities for themselves going forward. If the Steelers can add this dimension back to their game it will make them that much more dangerous.
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