Steelers vs Bengals : Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals, It’s rare for a rivalry to face calls for both teams to ratchet down their aggression, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals have acknowledged a desire to keep things under control ahead of their grudge match.
NFL Football Week 6
Steelers vs Bengals
Date : Sunday, October 14
Time : 1:00 Pm Et
Steelers vs Bengals
The latter of last season’s showdowns was a flashpoint for that animosity, as the teams combined for 20 flags, nine of which were for unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness. And with the NFL further prohibiting the use of the helmet, there will be less leeway for the kind of hits leveled by Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who knocked out linebacker Vontaze Burfict and then celebrated while standing over him, and Bengals safety George Iloka, who doled out a headshot to wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Regardless of the bad blood, Sunday could prove to be a defining day in the AFC North race. The Steelers’ once off-kilter offense found its footing in a 41-17 win over the Falcons, but the Bengals have jumped to a lead in the division thanks in part to an opportunistic defense that has been able to overcome its deficiencies.
Perhaps the biggest matchup hinges on the health of Bengals cornerback William Jackson III, the burgeoning star who held Brown to zero catches on eight targets when the two faced off in last year’s games.
Jackson is listed as questionable with a knee ailment, and his absence would have a ripple effect on a secondary that also must account for Smith-Schuster. Rookie Jessie Bates’ range in coverage will be vital, as Pittsburgh’s receivers provide game-breaking potential.
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who is tied for the league lead with six sacks and commands consistent double teams, will be counted on to continue to create havoc up front. But offensive guard David DeCastro and the rest of the Steelers line haven’t flinched often this year, ranking No. 4 in pass-blocking efficiency and allowing pressures on just 24.8% of all dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. If Atkins and Carlos Dunlap can’t generate heat on Ben Roethlisberger, it could spell trouble given that Cincinnati ranks second-to-last in third-down conversion rate allowed (52.7 percent).
The wild card for both sides may be Burfict, who will be playing in his just second game since suffering a concussion in December’s melee. While the talented linebacker has shown he can be a difference maker, his proclivity toward running hot and generating penalties could change the complexion of the game.
Here are four more matchups that will define Week 6 in the NFL:
Relative to his typically restrained assessments, Bill Belichick has been effusive in his praise of Kansas City’s second-year standout and his arm strength, saying that his ability to get the ball downfield forces teams to defend much more space. But it’s Mahomes’ mobility that should be of more worry, as he could continue to strain secondaries by extending plays and creating more opportunities for his playmakers.
For New England, containment might be a priority over full-on pressure. While the Patriots’ pass rush isn’t deep or at its most disruptive, it has experience on this front after facing the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson in Week 1. If Mahomes is given the same opportunities that he has been able to create so far this season, New England will be at risk of giving up the same kind of long scores that undid the team in last year’s 42-27 loss to Kansas City.