Only a team with as much
"hypothetical" talent as the Steelers could start 1 - 4 and still be
thought of as a contender to win their division. Even St. Louis doesn't get that
type of respect. Now granted, the AFC North is weaker than George Bush's foreign
policy, but I digress.
For those of you that don't
remember, the Bengals have been that ugly thorn in the paw of the Steelers for a
while now. No matter how successful of a season the Steelers were having, the
Bengals found a way to upset them. If the Steelers aren't careful, it could
happen again this week.
I would hesitate to think that
the Steelers could blow this probable win, but they've never failed to play
their worst game against Cincy. In fact, the list of dumb, pathetic plays is
endless, including the most infamous:
Neil O'Donnell fakes spiking the
ball and throws to Darnay Scott to defeat the Steelers in 1998. The Steelers
would never recover that season and missed the playoffs for the first time in 6
It was in that moment that I felt
embarrassed to be a Steeler fan for the first time in my life. Let's hope this
week doesn't make the second.
The Steelers were throttled by 2 big plays last week. Unfortunately, they have
been unable to counter big plays with their own this year. This defense is
perplexing because I think their weaknesses, although exposed, are not
detrimental to this unit's success. We always knew the secondary was a weakness,
but it's not any worse than over half of the other secondaries in the league.
The Bengals have been worse.
Advantage: The Steelers have the
better defense, with or without big plays.
The offense showed cohesiveness and even sustained drives last week in the
Bayou. The running game started to come around and the ball was passed around to
little-used Terance Mathis. This means that the offense will only get better,
right? I didn't hear you! The offense will only get better, right? Why don't you
As bad as the Steelers have been,
the Bengals have been worse.
Advantage: Like a broken record,
This is like picking between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The Bengals have started
each of their three pathetic quarterbacks already this season and the Steelers
are almost there also. However, Maddox is much more effective in this system
than any of the Bengals quarterbacks. Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, and Akili Smith
are like Cinderella's stepsisters: Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest.
Advantage: Steelers by default.
Outlook: Dick LeBeau said that if
the Bengals win he'd jump in the river. Well, if the Bengals win, I'd jump in a
flaming pile of...well you get the picture. Pittsburgh by 10.