The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Heinz Field and here are the six biggest storylines surrounding the Week 8 game.
Return of the Roethlisberger – Sunday will mark the return to the field of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has sat out the Steelers last four games with a left MCL sprain. Roethlisberger picked a good week to return as the Steelers will need him in order to beat the Bengals and stay alive in the AFC North race. Over the course of his career, Roethlisberger hasn’t been overly great in his first games back from injuries and you can bet that the Bengals pass rushers will be looking forward to welcoming the quarterback back with as many shots as possible.
Doing it without Tuitt – The Steelers will once again be without the services of second-year defensive end Stephon Tuitt as the Notre Dame product will be inactive on Sunday due to the knee sprain that he suffered back in Week 6. As we saw last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, not having Tuitt on the field was very noticeable. With Tuitt again sidelined this week, the Steelers defense will be forced to play Cam Thomas at left defensive end quite a bit against a Bengals offense line that has only allowed six sacks all season.
Andy not dandy at Heinz – While Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has gotten off to an incredible start this season, the redhead hasn’t played overly well in the four career games that he’s played at Heinz Field. In fact, he’s never thrown for more than 278 yards at Heinz Field and his only win in Pittsburgh came back in 2012 when the Bengals offense failed to score any touchdowns in a 13-10 victory.
Georgia Power Bell – The Steelers figure to run a lot against the Bengals on Sunday and that means we should see quite a bit of running back Le’Veon Bell carrying the football. The Bengals defense has had problems stopping the Steelers left-side Georgia counter play in the last two games, so it would be wise to see if they’ve gotten better at it. Bell could have a monster game on Sunday and that would go a long way in helping keep Dalton off the field in the process.
Burfict Stranger – After not practicing earlier in the week, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was surprisingly activated to the team’s 53-man roster from the Reserve/PUP list on Saturday. This means that barring any setbacks during pregame warmups that Burfict will play Sunday in some capacity against the Steelers. Burfict has been quite the stranger as of late as the last time he played in a game was just over one full year ago. In the four games that the former undrafted free agent has played against the Steelers during his career, he has averaged 11 total tackles.
Killer B’s will look like bees – The Steelers will be wearing their striped 1934 throwback jerseys on Sunday against the Bengals and hopefully the bumblebee-looking uniform tops will continue to bring the team good luck. This will mark the fourth straight season that the Steelers have worn these throwbacks and they’ve won three of the four games they have previously donned them.