Harrison Among Several That Need To Step Up Against His Former Team
By Joe Sorensen
After starting his nine-year career as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bengals LB James Harrison will line up against his former team for the first time on Monday Night Football. Although this game doesn’t figure to stir up the same kind of feelings that Harrison’s return to Pittsburgh will on December 15, playing against his old coaches and teammates should stir some kind of emotion within the tenth-year player.
Unfortunately, the 35-year-old Harrison is beginning to show his age. In his team debut last week, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year did not make a big impact on the game defensively – finishing the game against the Chicago Bears with one solo tackle.
This week, Harrison and crew need to regain their form from last season when the team finished in the top-10 in most defensive categories. While the Steelers offense did not appear very impressive in last week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans, QB Ben Roethlisberger has demonstrated that he is capable of putting up points in a hurry if given the chance.
The first meeting of the season against the Steelers is coming at a perfect time for the Bengals. After last week’s heart-breaking loss to the Bears, Cincinnati has some work to do on both sides of the ball, specifically on the defensive end. The defense has to show that they can close games out and the offense – led by QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green – has to put up more points in order to put less pressure on the defense. Outside of the aforementioned offensive stars, other options need to be available in both the passing and running game.
Prediction: Bengals 31, Steelers 14
Cincinnati should handle the Steelers with no trouble this week, but it should not take this game lightly. By doing just enough to win this week, the Bengals will hurt their chances of knocking off the Green Bay Packers next week. Cincinnati needs to be firing on all cylinders by the end of Week 2 if they wish to make it a game against Green Bay’s high-scoring offense. Look for Green to have another 100 receiving yards with a touchdown and for a new star to emerge in the offense. WR Mohamed Sanu, who had four catches last week, should have a breakout game this week against a confused Steeler defense.