Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 11/10/11

The Steelers face off against the Cincinnati Bengals this week to try and get back in the hunt for the division lead.  This is a big game for both teams.  The Bengals are playing their first real big game of the season.  They played San Francisco early before they got rolling and beat the Buffalo Bills on a late field goal.  This game versus the Steelers will tell the tale for the Bengals.  If they come out and win they will take control of the AFC North and the AFC as a whole.  Their are some major match ups in this game.  This will be the biggest one on one match ups we have had in a while.  Lately they have been team match ups and in this game it is a man up situation for each player.

Match Ups:

  1. Mike Wallace vs. Leon Hall-  Wallace is having a big season.  He broke out last season and now he is just dominating each team and each corner he goes up against.  Wallace already has 868 yards and 6 touchdowns in 9 games this season.  Other then Calvin Johnson there has not been a more dominant receiver in the NFL this year.  Wallace makes plays all over the field.  He is no longer just a go deep guy.  His run after the catch ability has become a key to his game.  Leon Hall is having a pretty good year even without Jonathan Joseph on the other side of the field.  He had a down year last year but has really stepped back up to the form of 2009.  It will be up to Hall to shut down Wallace and the Steelers offense.
  2. Ike Taylor vs. A.J. Green- The same thing applies to Green vs. Taylor.  If Green has a big game the Bengals will have a big day.  Taylor is having the best season of his career.  He is playing at a Pro Bowl level.  He has shut down some great receivers this season.  Green is working towards putting his name on that list.  As a rookie he has 40 receptions for 599 yards and 5 touchdowns.  He was my number one receiver coming out of college and the number 3 player on my board.  I was so worried that the Bengals would draft him and the Browns would draft Julio Jones.  At least one of them did not end up in the division.  Taylor will have his hands full with Green’s size and strength.  This should be fun to watch.
  3. Andy Dalton vs. Dick Lebeau-  We all know about this I have written about it at least 3 times this season.  Dick Lebeau owns young quarterbacks.  It is just what he does.  No need to write the same paragraph again.
  4. Andrew Whitworth vs. James Harrison- Whitworth is looking studly right now.  He is keeping Andy Dalton clean and giving him room to throw.  His name is being mentioned as maybe the best left tackle in football right now.  Dalton has only been sacked 12 times this year.  Harrison came back from injury and had 3 sacks last week versus the Ravens.  These two are going to battle all day long on Sunday.  It will be amazing to watch this match up.  These guys are both strong mean and at the top in their position.  The Steelers have had almost no pass rush this season outside of LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.  Woodley is still extremely questionable and if Whitworth can stonewall Harrison that would take away all pressure on Dalton.  This match up could turn the tide in the game.
  5. Heath Miller vs. Rey Maualuga- Those who were on the phone with me at the time of the draft know that I was screaming at the TV when the Steelers took Ziggy Hood.  I love Ziggy Hood but I wanted either Maualaga or Eben Britton.  I was so excited both of these guys were on the board I was jumping for joy.  Then I was cursing like crazy when we passed on Maualaga.  It looked like I was wrong the way he started his career as Maualaga struggled in his first two seasons.  I blame that on the Bengals.  He is looking like the guy we all saw at USC now that he has been moved back to Middle Linebacker.  He is the force that I thought he would be.  Imagine him and Timmons beside each other.  I would not trade Ziggy for the world now though.  He is one of my favorite Steelers.  Him and Woodley together on the left side excites me.  The Steelers have started to use Heath Miller more in the offense and it will be up to Maualaga to slow him down in the pass game.
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