Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/23/12
In this AFC North match-up, the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers worked their way to victory, defeating the Bengals by a score of 24-17. With only a half game between them in the division now for second and third place, we'll take a look at the key components for how we can determine the outcome of the re-match in Pittsburgh in Week 16.Let us determine who and what makes a difference.Dwyer and Rainey Carry the LoadJohnathan Dwyer and Chris Rainey aren't household names. That's because they're the third and fifth string running backs of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although they aren't the highest on the depth chart, the duo helped to will their team to victory with their play on Sunday. With both Mendenhall and Redman plagued by injury, Dwyer and Rainey didn't hesitate when called to duty. Dwyer had a memorable game, rushing for 122 yards on 17 carries, while Rainey followed up with 17 yards on four carries and a touchdown. If Dwyer keeps toting the rock like he did on Sunday, he'll be a fantasy sleeper to pick up. Rainey may not be a bad pick up either, as he may be the back to run around the goal line. Once Mendenhall and Redman are able to play again, the Steelers may have more depth in the running game than ever before.Possession is KeyIn spite of winning by a single touchdown, the Steelers dominated the game statistically in several key categories. Although each team had 11 possessions, the time difference was quite extensive. The Steelers had the ball almost two-thirds of the game at 37:30, while the Bengals only held possession for 22:30. Pittsburgh doubled Cincinnati in first downs (22) and third downs (10). The Steelers dominated also doubled the Bengals in the running game and the passing game. If you take the ball away from a team, they can't score. Pittsburgh made the clock work in their favor.  A.J. Green Should Be The FocusWide receiver A.J. Green has been the primary target for the Bengals all season long. He has accumulated 636 yards on 44 receptions, reaching the endzone seven times. The second-year man out of Georgia has definitely had a standout year thus far. However, the Steelers did their homework. On six targets, Green was only able to corral one, which just happened to be for eight yards and a score. To ensure optimal success against the Bengals, take A.J. Green out of the game. If they beat you, let it be on the efforts of Dalton, Green-Ellis, Gresham, or Hawkins. They haven't had much success on the season, but the little they'be had has definitely been on the shoulders of emerging superstar, A.J. Green.Big Ben Banged up, yet Better than BengalsPicking the Steelers over the Bengals was an easy decision, due in part to Ben Roethlisberger's winning 78 percent of his games against Cincinnati all-time. With this last win, Roethlisberger is now 14-4 against the Bengals, with five consecutive wins, dating back to 2010. Roethlisberger has always had great success against Cincinnati and has even done so while injured. Late in the week Big Ben missed some of Thursday's practice due to an ankle injury, however it didn't prevent him from playing and helping the Steelers to secure a win. Even when Big Ben is not a full strength, I'll put my money on him against the Bengals. Winning almost four out of five times is enough for me.Cincinnati is falling apartThe Bengals started the season at 3-1. Since then, the Bengals have not touched the winner's circle again. The loss to the Steelers marks their third loss in a row. When noticing that the Bengals hadn't beaten a team over the .500 mark this season, I quickly assumed that the Bengals would have trouble with contenders; however, the most surprising stat of all followed when I realized that the Bengals hadn't loss to a team over .500 either!The Bengals have managed to beat and lose to, all teams that were either at, or below .500. They haven't faced a single team thus far with a winning record. This is a big sign of trouble. The Bengals are headed into a Bye Week, but they have two tough games following that against, "The Mannings." Luckily, Cincinnati gets to host both games, first against Peyton and the Denver Broncos, followed by Eli Manning and New York Giants.Hopefully the Bye Week serves its purpose in helping to prepare for the rest of the season, because the Bengals will definitely need it.
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