The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Are the Bengals a better team than the Steelers right now?
With the Steelers and the Bengals both up and down this year, and with different strengths and weaknesses, they collide this weekend in a pivotal divisional matchup to determine who has the edge in the race—perhaps for second place in the division.
The Bengals have already beaten the Steelers this year, in Pittsburgh, and are 6-4 on the season while the Steelers are 5-4-1. If they drop this game in Cincinnati, it will be a rather difficult road to catch up due to the head-to-head tiebreaker, effectively two games behind, even if the Bengals manage a tie later in the year.
The Steelers are on a two-game non-winning streak, tying the awful Lions and losing to a good Chargers team, albeit on the road, with significant injuries, and a quarterback who didn’t get to practice all week.
The Bengals, meanwhile, blew out a Raiders team that just beat the Cowboys, but they also lost to the Jets and got blown out by the Browns in their two games prior. It’s kind of hard to get a read on just where they are as a team, and that’s partly because of how young they are in certain areas, or generally new due to free agent signings.
Bottom line, who is going to be the better team on the field this Sunday—presuming that the Steelers get back all the players they realistically can get back for the game, such as Watt and Fitzpatrick? Should Pittsburgh win this one, or have the Bengals simply surpassed them?