On Sunday night, the Cincinnati Bengals are at home against their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers lead the all-time series 52-32 since the rivalry began in 1970. The Bengals have not won a game against Pittsburgh since they swept the division in 2009.
There are a lot of similarities between these two teams in 2012, thus far, and there are certain surprises that have altered the way each of these teams has approached its game plan on a weekly basis.
Both quarterbacks are having nice statistical seasons and have been the primary focus of their respective teams’ offense.
Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers has amassed 1,487 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 99.9.
Andy Dalton of the Bengals has gained 1,726 passing yards along with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a quarterback rating of 91.7.
Each team has struggled to run the football to this point. This is very surprising for the generally run-happy AFC North division. The Steelers are currently averaging a dismal three yards per carry, and the Bengals are not much better with a 3.9 yards-per-carry average.
Defensively, the Steelers are playing with more of a stout defense than that of the Bengals as they have allowed far less yardage by opponents on the ground and through the air.
The Bengals, on the other hand, have had a much better pass rush in 2012 and are tied for a league lead with 20 sacks on the season.
All indications point to another very close AFC North football game. Let’s take a look at some key matchups that could make or break either team on Sunday night.