Eight teams will be facing off in the Wild Card round for a chance to make it one step closer to Super Bowl 50.
Those teams are: The Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings. The Bengals, Texans, Redskins, and Vikings all clinched their respective divisions, while the Steelers, Chiefs, Packers, and Seahawks all made it in as Wild Card teams.
In the last article, we took a look at the Chiefs/Texans game. Now, we take a look at the Steelers/Bengals game.
The Bengals, winners of the AFC North Division Title, finished the season 12-4, while the Steelers finished the season with a 10-6 record.
For the Steelers, while their defense isn’t as feared as it used to be in years past, it’s offense is still a top force in the National Football League. During a stretch of the season, the Steelers scored 30 or more points six games in a row. One of the best duos in the entire league this year has been veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Despite multiple injuries this year, Roethlisberger finished the year by throwing for 3,938 yards, 21 touchdowns, along with 16 interceptions. As for Brown, he finished the year with a team-record 136 receptions for 1,834 yards and ten touchdowns. With running back Le’Veon Bell out since midway into the season, former Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams has taken the reigns at the running back position, and has risen to the occasion.
For the Bengals, the biggest question by far is: how will they function on offense in quarterback AJ McCarron‘s first playoff game of his career? Weeks ago, starter Andy Dalton was injured while trying to tackle Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison after throwing an interception.
McCarron has now gotten the call to take his place, and the Bengals look to be on the better end of a Wild Card match-up against the Steelers. For those that don’t remember, it was ten years ago that these two teams squared off again in the playoffs, and on the first play of offense, then-Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was tackled and tore his ACL. Jon Kitna entered the game, but in the end, the Steelers emerged victorious.
If the Cincinnati defense steps up and stops the 33-year old Roethlisberger and his various offensive weapons, then they’ll be the victors of the game. But if Roethlisberger plays how he did against them ten years ago in the playoffs, the same result will occur… another one-and-done for the Bengals.
(Photo Credit: AthlonSports.com)