The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, 11/20. On the year the Bengals are 5-4 while the Steelers are 3-6. Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati in their first matchup back in Week 1 in an overtime thriller by a score of 23-20. Pittsburgh is coming off of a 20-10 win against the New Orleans Saints and will look to keep it rolling. Here are a few key stats that could lead the Steelers to success.
Third Down Conversions – 45%
The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had much success on third down so far this season. Pittsburgh converts on third down just 36% of the time which ranks 26th in the NFL. This comes after a strong 9/17 performance on third down against the Saints. Prior to last week the Steelers were just 33% on third down which would be 29th in the league.
On the flip side the Bengals are third in the NFL on third down converting nearly 50% of the time.
If the Bengals are going to keep their drives alive by converting third downs, Pittsburgh is going to have to be able to do the same.
Points – 24
Scoring has also been down in Pittsburgh this season. The Steelers are 31st in the NFL in points-per-game (PPG) with 15.6. Pittsburgh hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a game since that Week 1 overtime win against the Bengals. Getting to 20 points is the first hurdle for Pittsburgh who are 3-1 on the season when they score 20 or more points. But 20 might not be enough in this one.
The Bengals are averaging 25 PPG this season which ranks sixth in the league. On top of that they are on a hot streak right now, scoring 30 points in three of their last four games. After a rocky start to their season they are starting to find their groove – even without star Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
The Pittsburgh defense is back full healthy again for the first time since Week 1 (assuming the reports about Minkah Fitzpatrick‘s optimism to play hold true). It couldn’t come at a better time than going up against the red hot Bengals. If Pittsburgh can get to 24 points the defense should be able to do the rest.
Sacks – 2
Ok this number is pretty low, but it might be all it takes. The Bengals, for a myriad of reasons, have still had trouble keeping Joe Burrow upright at times this season. Cincinnati is 3-4 when they take multiple sacks in a game, with two of those wins being just one score games.
Pittsburgh meanwhile is 3-2 on the year when they get to the quarterback more than once. With the return of T.J. Watt and with the Bengals having given up five sacks just two weeks ago to the Cleveland Browns, chances are the Steelers are going to be able to get to Burrow in this one.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could certainly go on a run here in the second half of their season. If they are going to keep things rolling this week, they’ll need to convert on third down in order to have the opportunities to keep up with the Bengals on the scoreboard. And getting to Joe Burrow a few times would go a long way in keeping the Bengals at bay.
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