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Friday, December 13, 2013

Who I like, Cincinnati part II

Pride is a funny thing. Have too much of it and it can be a detriment. But just the right amount of pride is considered a positive attribute.

Over the final three weeks of the 2013 season, we’ll see where the Steelers fall on the pride scale.

The past two seasons have been a direct shot to the pride of the Steelers, particularly for players who have been with the team for several seasons and been a big part of Super Bowl runs.

It is because of that pride, both among the players and the organization, that the Steelers won’t “tank” their final three games as many fans want them to do in order to get a better draft pick.

Players and coaches don’t think that way. They don’t go into any game expecting to lose. If they did, they wouldn’t have made it to the highest level of their respective sport.

As former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards once famously said, “You play to win the game.”

Many have also suggested the Steelers use the final three games to take a look at young players. But other than safety Shamarko Thomas and wide receiver Markus Wheaton, the team’s “young guys” are already playing.

Which brings us to today’s game against Cincinnati. The Bengals, at 9-4, lead the AFC North by two games over Baltimore and have an outside shot at getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The Steelers would love nothing more to damage those hopes.

And if you think division opponents damaging one another’s playoff hopes don’t matter, look no farther than San Diego’s win in Denver Thursday night as an example. The Chargers, like the Steelers, are a long shot to make the playoffs, but they went into Mile High Stadium and held the high-scoring Broncos to a season-low 20 points.

This will not be a cakewalk for the Bengals, who are 6-0 at home, but 3-4 on the road, in large part to quarterback Andy Dalton’s struggles away from Paul Brown Stadium. Dalton has thrown 16 interceptions this season, 14 of which have come in road games.

There’s also this, AFC North teams are 1-9 in road games against other AFC North teams, with the only victory being Pittsburgh’s win at Cleveland Nov. 24.

Cincinnati is a three-point favorite to sweep the Steelers for the first time since 2009, but that won’t matter.

Take the Steelers to pull out a 24-23 victory

@ As an aside, I picked Cincinnati in the first meeting between the two teams.

@ The Steelers on Saturday signed defensive end Brian Arnfelt from their practice squad and released linebacker Kion Wilson.

The activation of Arnfelt tells me that the Steelers don't expect Brett Keisel, who has already been declared out, or Steve McLendon to play Sunday.


Anonymous said...

I don't believe in "tanking" games either, but do like seeing the youngsters play. Gives them valuable game reps, allows the staff to see how they perform in real games prior to the upcoming draft, and reduces the chances of an established vet sustaining a serious injury.

I agree that this has been a season where most of the youngsters have had opportunities. In addition to Wheaton, I hoping we get to see more of Derek Moye. Any chance Dale that we could see the Steelers bring Justin Brown up from the practice squad for some game reps?

I'm always hearing about the tall receivers that Ben likes, and drafting one early. Hate spending a premium pick on something when we might have the answer on our roster already.

Mark said...

I think Worilds was quoted saying that he is playing better now because he is getting more snaps, that he needed more game time to find his rhythm.

The younger guys are getting snaps in games, but the question is are 3-5 snaps really enough to see what they are capable of? (I guess it is like running backs who have 20-25 carries / 100+ yards: do they need more carries to have a good game, or do they get more carries because they are having a good game?)

Anonymous Brian said...

I think Zimmer & the boys will get to Roethlisberger, but he'll make enough Good Ben plays in the second half to make it close. Bengals - 23 Steelers - 17. So same score as Dale but in my scenario somebody drops a game-winning TD as time expires.

3rd string-ish OL held up well last week, hopefully can do it two weeks in a row. At least Atkins is done.

marc said...

If the steelers can keep the bengals RB's in check they should win at home. If not, then I see them losing by a TD or more.

Dale Lolley said...

No, Derek Moye isn't going to play more, and no Brown won't be called up from the practice squad. Who you gonna release to do that?

I reported two months ago that Worilds was upset that he wasn't getting consistent reps, that he felt he needed that to set offensive linemen up. Not surprising.

A little different, though for a WR or safety or such.

Anonymous said...

Release David Paulson to free up a gameday spot to look at others?? I've seen enough of him this season to determine that he is a liability on the field.

Noel said...

Bengals' o-line covered in this week's Word of Muth:

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Steelers will TRY to tank....I just think they will lose because Cincinnati is a better team with more to play for.

Patrick said...

I'm so disinterested in this game. I could see the Steelers beating Cinci soundly or losing by 2 scores. No feel for it and at this point, it feels so much like the end of 2006, "who cares?" kind of feeling.

Hope they finish strong, but not disappointed any more than I am if they don't.