Perhaps the most intense rivalry in the NFL will resume this weekend as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Ohio to take on the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals. While the Steelers have been a longtime bully of the Bengals, this Cincinnati team comes in with a game and a half lead on the Steelers. While these games have been physical slugfests, there is a lot more on the line in this matchup as the Steelers will look to either gain ground or take a giant step back in the AFC North. Here are all the numbers you need to know for this weekend’s matchup.
2 – The NFL’s sack leader, Geno Atkins has been a thorn on the Steelers’ side for much of his veteran career. The Bengals’ veteran defensive tackle has seven career sacks against the Steelers over his career but the black and gold offensive line has done a good job shutting him out as of late. Over his last eight games against the Steelers, Atkins has just two sacks. The Steelers will have to worry about more than just Atkins though, as the offensive line has allowed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked eight times in his last six games against the Bengals.
7 – Ben Roethlisberger is returning to his home state of Ohio this weekend and the quarterback has constantly enjoyed his homecoming against the Bengals. Since the 2010 season, Roethlisberger is 7-1 against the Bengals in Cincinnati. In that span, Roethlisberger has thrown 10 touchdowns to six interceptions. Five of these eight matchups have been one score games, and it is likely that it will be close again this weekend but luckily as history has shown, Roethlisberger just finds a way to get it done in the state of Ohio.
11 – Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled racking up wins against the Steelers over his career. The Steelers have always treated Dalton like a younger brother, constantly bullying him on the field. Dalton has 11 losses against the Steelers in his career and just three wins. He has thrown 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while completing just over 50-percent of his passes (58%).
80 – While the Steelers will have to wait at least another week before Le’Veon Bell reports, the Bengals were lucky to get their star running back Joe Mixon back last week. While Mixon has failed to crack over 50 yards rushing against the Steelers, he has established himself as a quality running back. In fact, the Bengals are currently 5-0 when Mixon cracks over 80 rushing yards. The Steelers are currently allowing 105 rushing yards per game, good for 15th in the NFL. If the defense allows Mixon to gain ground, it could spell disaster for the Steelers’ chances of victory.
156 – The biggest question for Sunday’s matchup is if Steelers’ cornerback Joe Haden will follow Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green. Green has had quite the start to the season, with 409 receiving yards and five touchdowns but has struggled against the Steelers over the last two seasons. The Bengals’ top receiver has just 12 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games against the Steelers. Green has amassed 30 targets over this span and his 12 receptions puts his catch percentage at 40-percent.