When the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, it took five takeaways off from Joe Burrow to make it happen. But things will be different this time around.
Each team will be missing one of its biggest stars. On the Bengals side, Ja’Marr Chase is unlikely to play just as Minkah Fitzpatrick for the Steelers – who picked off Burrow and recorded a pass deflection in that first encounter – is after missing Wednesday’s practice.
“Maybe wait another week,” replied Burrow jokingly after being asked if he had any advice for Fitzpatrick as the defender recovers from an appendectomy.
The Steelers hope things have changed for their own offense, though. Five turnovers by the Bengals weren’t enough for a Mitch Trubisky lead team to win comfortably.
Despite the win, Pittsburgh was outgained 432-267 in total yards. Now with Kenny Pickett under center and a resurgent running game, the Steelers hope to play a better day of football on Sunday.
Key trend plays in Steelers’ favor
One thing remains the same about this meeting and the last one, though. The Steelers – even at home – will be underdogs versus the Bengals.
Is that something to be worried about? Not when it comes to Mike Tomlin versus Cincinnati. When he’s faced the rival AFC North franchise as an underdog, he’s 7-2 straight up.
Why, exactly? That’s a question for another day. But Tomlin’s overall record as an underdog is well-known and impressive. Versus the Bengals, he probably prefers to be an underdog. He finds a way to get his team going in these kind of spots.
With T.J. Watt back in the lineup, the Steelers have a legit shot at exploiting the Bengals’ biggest weakness. Pass protection.
Considering they haven’t been super efficient without Chase on the field (20th in passing DVOA), Pittsburgh’s defense has a shot at beating the Bengals twice this season.
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