The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at 1 p.m. It’s an early test for Cincinnati against their division rival in the first rematch since their playoff debacle on January 9th. Here are the numbers you need to know for this matchup.
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2: Since sweeping the division in route to a division title in 2009, the Bengals have beaten the Steelers three times. Two of those instances came at Heinz Field, the venue for this Sunday’s contest. It seems Cincinnati plays better on the road against the Steelers. Last season in the Steel City, the Bengals rallied late to win in a dogfight, 16-10.
18-7: Ben Roethlisberger‘s overall record against Cincinnati. In the 18 wins against the Bengals, Roethlisberger has thrown 26 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. In the seven losses, those numbers drop significantly — seven touchdowns and 14 picks. Pittsburgh’s 33-20 win in week 14 of last season at Paul Brown Stadium was the first time Roethlisberger beat the Bengals despite throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Turnovers will play a crucial role if Cincinnati wants to start 2-0.
25-14: Andy Dalton‘s road record speaks for itself. Going into Sunday, he is 2-3 lifetime at Heinz Field, throwing an even amount of touchdowns and interceptions (6-6). In the AFC North, Dalton and company have won five of their last six road games, with the lone exception being the 27-17 loss in Pittsburgh to end the 2014 season.
Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton is 2-3 lifetime at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
157: The amount of rushing yards the Bengals allowed in week one. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell often found large holes in Cincinnati’s defense. Although Paul Guenther’s unit allowed just 22 points, they will face DeAngelo Williams on Sunday. At 33 years old, Williams is showing no signs of slowing down. On Monday night, Williams ran for 143 yards and two scores in Pittsburgh’s opening win in Washington. In two games last season against Cincinnati, the ageless veteran ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
7: The Bengals’ offensive line allowed seven sacks against the Jets in week one. The dubious career-high sack total for Dalton is concerning and needs to be fixed in week two. Despite a sub-par secondary in 2015, Pittsburgh did rank third in the NFL in sacks with 49.Cedric Ogbuehi and Russell Bodine had rough week ones, but will have to come prepared against Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, a tandem that combined for 13.5 sacks last season.
125.4: AJ Green has scorched the Steelers in recent meetings, averaging 125.4 yards per game over the last two seasons.Green caught touchdowns in all three meetings with Pittsburgh last season, including what many thought was a touchdown that would end the NFL’s longest postseason drought. In week one, Green torched seven-time Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis for 180 yards and a touchdown, and should see another high number of targets when Cincinnati visits Pittsburgh this Sunday.
14: Since 2003, the Bengals are 8-20 against the Steelers. Exactly half of those games (14) have been decided by one possession. Furthermore, in Cincinnati’s eight wins over that span, seven have been decided by one score, with the lone exception being the Bengals’ 20-10 win in week two of 2013. The average margin of a Bengals’ win over the Steelers since ’03 is just 5.8 points, meaning we should prepare for a nail-biter in Pittsburgh on Sunday.