Friday, October 19, 2012

Who I like, Cincinnati version

I know the Steelers are 0-3 on the road this season. I know they've given up fourth quarter leads in all three of their road games. And I know they will be playing without their top two running backs.

But for some reason, I like this team this week.

Actually, there are several reasons.

First and foremost is the fact that Cincinnati is converting just 27 percent of its third downs - 20 of 75.

The Steelers are allowing opponents to convert at a 49.2 percent rate, but even if that number is somewhere in the middle this week - let's say 36 percent - the Steelers will win.

So long as the Steelers don't let anyone get behind them - and despite their struggles, they lead the league in fewest explosive plays allowed (everybody's defense stinks) - they should be OK.

Another factor that makes me favor the Steelers is Cincinnati's offensive line.

The Bengals have allowed quarterback Andy Dalton to be sacked 17 times in 232 pass attempts, an average of one every 13.6 dropbacks. And if you throw out a game against pitiful Jacksonville in which the Bengals didn't allow a sack in 31 pass attempts, that number falls to one every 11.8 attempts.

With LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison on the field together, the Steelers - who had eight sacks against the Bengals in 2011 - will generate some pressure. In fact, Woodley has eight sacks against the Bengals, his most against any opponent.

The final thing favoring the Steelers is the desperation factor. This is a team that was in shock after losing at Tennessee, but part of that shock could have been from Mike Tomlin's decision to attempt a 54-yard field goal with just under one minute remaining.

That decision, more than anything, cost the Steelers. When Shaun Suisham missed the kick, it gave the Titans the ball in excellent field position, needing just 20 or so yards to get into field goal range.

That's a tough spot to put any defense in, let alone one that is struggling.

Finally, there's this: The Steelers are 11-2 all-time at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Steelers are 1 1/2-point favorites to win this one and will do so.

Take Pittsburgh, 24-20


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you saying the team doesn't trust Tomlin?

Dale Lolley said...

I'm saying not everyone was likely on board with trying a 54-yard field goal there. Certainly not the defensive players.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin is good at managing his players but he needs to work on his in game calls. He's not the best when it comes to challenges and decisions like this one.

adamg said...

Dale, what do you make of Rappaport's report about Haley and Ben having a rocky relationship? Truth or malarkey?

Rotoworld.com said...

"According to beat writer Dale Lolley, Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer will draw the start at Cincinnati in Week 7 with Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) out.

Lolley expects at least 15 carries for Dwyer. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirms Dwyer is the "likely" starter, with Baron Batch and Chris Rainey rotating in primarily on passing downs. "He hasn't played in a couple weeks," WR Mike Wallace said of Dwyer. "This is a chance to get his helmet back and do some good things out there." Chris Wesseling updated Rotoworld's Week 7 ranks late Friday night, placing Dwyer 27th, Batch 42nd and Rainey 52nd among running back options.

Related: Baron Batch, Chris Rainey
Source: Washington Observer-Reporter Oct 20 - 2:04 PM"

Anonymous said...

Nice Dale

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/10-20-2012_steelers-dwyer

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PFF said...

Secret Superstar

Cortez Allen, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

William Gay moving to Arizona in the offseason bumped each of the current Pittsburgh Steelers cornerbacks one spot up the totem pole. Keenan Lewis stepped into the starters’ role, which allowed 2011 fourth-round draft pick Cortez Allen (+3.8) to see an increase in snaps as the team’s nickel corner. Allen played just 60 snaps as a rookie but put in the kind of performance on Sunday that highlighted why the Steelers had no problem giving him an increased role on defense.

Targeted seven times by Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, Allen yielded just three receptions for a mere 9 yards. The four incompletions included a pass breakup on 2nd-and-10 with 16 seconds left in the second quarter. Matching Nate Washington stride for stride on a post route, he was able to get his arm between the ball and the Titans’ receiver to force the incompletion. His impressive performance wasn’t just limited to his play in coverage. Rushing the passer four times, he was able to add a hit on the quarterback. It’s the best we’ve seen Allen play so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but if he can put together more performances like that, he’ll be pushing for an even bigger role soon.

Anonymous said...

Dale...that is wishful thinking. The Steelers have been the cure for all ills for every team they have played all year. Woodley and Timmons will do their usual disappearing act.

34-21 Bengals

marc said...

hard to pick the steelers on the road right now. their defense is folding late in the game and the offense is doing OK, but may struggle with the o-line/RB injuries.

this is a must win game for both teams. at home, the bengals have the edge. history is not a guarantee of future results.

bengals win by a field goal or so.

Dale Lolley said...

Steelers are 11-2 at Paul Brown Stadium against what have been some pretty decent Bengals teams.

Anonymous said...

This is the best Bengals team and worst Steelers team (Defense) in years as well Dale.

joe said...

not real sure what to expect from the steelers today. really hoping hampton isn't starting. he rotates a lot, but he should not be starting anymore. maybe wake some people up a bit. same with ike, cowher benched him and it turned out some good results.

the ongoing campaign for safety seems to be lost when it comes to the nfl pocketing wads of cash for thursday night games. thurs night football is ridiculous. same with london games.

Patrick said...

the problem with benching anybody on this team is there is no depth behind them. Ike and Hampton, maybe are two exceptions. But I'm not comfortable starting Cortez Allen.

As for the game, this one is so hard to predict. Are we going to see a disciplined and focused team with their backs to the walls and a lot of injuries playing on the road? Or are we going to see poor execution, penalties, horrible situational defense and inability to finish on offense?

I hate saying a game is a must win this early in the season, because too many things happen, but if we see the same old from the Steelers, we know its over. But I think this year is 2009 all over again and they will play up and down to the competition.

For that reason, I like the Steelers to win on a late drive by 4.

27-23 Steelers

Dale Lolley said...

Best Bengals team? Please. They've lost to Miami and Cleveland the last two weeks.

Cripes, they won the division two years ago. I'd say that team was probably better. Swept the AFC North.