Location: Cincinnati, OH; Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium; Weather: 50 degrees, partly cloudy; Kickoff: 8:40 PM ET; Line Steelers +7 TV Coverage: ESPN; Announcers: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), John Gruden (color analyst), Lisa Salters (sideline); Coaches: Mike Tomlin (Steelers) vs. Marvin Lewis (Bengals)
Pittsburgh Steelers: After an upsetting loss in week one, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to get one back on Monday night against division rival, Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers will be lining up against their former right outside linebacker, James Harrison, in their first match up since Harrison was released from the team. The Steelers will be starting outside linebacker Jarvis Jones for the first time in his career. The Steelers are hoping that Jones’ play making ability will help on Monday night.
Offensively, the Steelers were completely outmatched last week against the Titans. In week two, they will look to move on without center Maurkice Pouncey. The Steelers signed center Fernando Velasco in hopes of helping their situation in the middle of the line. Velasco did not give up a sack all of last season while playing with the Titans. The Steelers also re-signed running back Jonathan Dwyer as the team lost LaRod Stephens-Howling to a knee injury and were unable to pick up more than two yards a carry in the season opener.
Defensively, the Steelers still look great. The Titans were able to form a running game to a point, but held All-Pro Chris Johnson to under three yards a carry. This week, the Steelers will need to stay tight in coverage. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will take advantage of the short passes. The Steelers can not the receivers get behind them in coverage.
Cincinnati Bengals: Just like the Steelers, the Bengals started the season with a loss. As seven point favorites, the Bengals will look to make the Steelers’ problems worse on Monday night. In last week’s loss to the Bears, the Bengals threw two costly interceptions, and were shut out in the 4th quarter. Linebacker Rey Maualuga committed a huge penalty late in the game to give the Bears a first down and win as they ran the clock out in their 24-21 loss in Soldier Field. In week two, James Harrison and the Bengals look to stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in their home opener.
What to look for: 1. How will the offensive line adapt a week after losing Pouncey for the season? 2. Will the Steelers convert on 3rd down? 3. Will the defense make any big plays to help win?
Spotlight Player: Jarvis Jones is getting his first start at right outside linebacker while James Harrison will be watching from the other sideline. Jones needs to have a big game to keep his starting role.
Team Quotes: Mike Tomlin (key to beating Bengals): “To not beat ourselves.To get off to a clean start. To not have a lot of negativity early. To find a rhythm and allow ourselves to settle into the type of game we can play.”
Bottom Line: The Steelers were disrupted in their home opener, now as seven point underdogs, they must do the same to the Bengals in their home opener.
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