The Bengals will face the Pittsburgh Steelers for a Monday Night divisional matchup. The Bengals enter week 13 with a record of 5-6 and look to remain in the hunt for one of two wildcard spots.
The Bengals lost the first matchup with the Steelers earlier this season, but anytime you get two divisional teams playing against each other you can throw all of that out the window.
With these three keys to victory there could be a different outcome the second time around.:
1. Get the home crowd involved early and often.
The electricity in the air on Monday night will undoubtedly be through the roof. Division rivals, primetime national television and a game with playoff implications are all thing for fans to get excited for. With home-field advantage being evident from the beginning it is important to keep them in it. If you get the ball to start the game, score. If you kick the ball away to start, get a stop. The momentum gained by having your home crowd behind you is huge. Moving the ball efficiently and at your speed will go a long way in keeping the crown on your side.
2. Don’t let Le’Veon Bell have his way…. again.
In the first matchup of the season, Bell had his breakout game of the season. In a game where he really had his way with the Cincinnati defense, Bell had 134 rushing yards. Bell did not just have success on the ground, however, as he added another 58 yards receiving for a total of 192 yards from scrimmage in the two teams first matchup. Stopping Bell has to be a priority for the Bengals defense.
3. Get the running game going and in return control the game speed.
Cincinnati has three running backs on their roster that are capable of being a premier back for a team. With players like Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill it is hard to think that the Bengals would abandon the running game, but this was the case in the first matchup between the two teams. As a team, the Bengals only rushed for 71 yards on just 17 attempts. Joe Mixon led the way with 48 yards on seven carries. When facing a prolific offense like the Steelers the best defense is keeping the ball away from them. Moving the ball on the ground will allow you to set the speed of the game, and in return keep their offense on the sideline.
Cincinnati has a chance to remain within striking distance of a wild-card spot, and ultimately defeat a division foe. With these three keys to victory, there could be plenty of reason to celebrate in Cincinnati Monday night.
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