5 Smoldering Questions: Post-Bengals Pre-Ravens Edition

temp2016_cin2_1218kr_2254-nfl_mezz_1280_1024By Hombre de Acero

The Pittsburgh Steelers will arrive at their Christmas day show down with the Baltimore Ravens on the heels of a 24-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that extended their winning streak to 5 games and improved their record to 9-7.

And the stakes in this game are pretty simple. Win and the Steelers earn another AFC North title, lose and Steelers Nation will spend the time between Christmas and New Year’s openly clutching Rosary Beads and secretly stuffing pins into voodoo dolls, all while they memorize the NFL’s oft arcane wild card tie breaking rules.

But before reaching the defining moment of the 2016 regular season, this segment of the Black and Gold legion must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions.

1. Following the Bengals win, Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola asserted this:

Last year, the Steelers lose this game…. They won and set themselves up for that because when the Bengals tried to play pitch-and-catch on third-and-long, the Steelers had cornerbacks on the field who broke up the passes. Both passes. One by each cornerback.

Agree or disagree with his assessment. Defend your choice.

2. Don’t look now, but for the first time in, well I don’t know how long, Antonio Brown wasn’t the Steelers leading wide receiver. Eli Rogers earned that honor. We’ve discussed this topic enough, but do you think Eli Rogers has shown enough to be considered a legit number 2 for the stretch run?

3. Here’s a true chicken-egg question: Which was more important to the Steelers win, Chris Boswell’s 6 field goals or his shoe string tackle?

4. The Steelers Pro Bowl squad comprised of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro should surprise no one.

Did anyone the Pro Bowl selection process snub any members of the Steelers defense? If you argue “yes” then be ready to defend your choice.

5. Finally, it’s been 784 days since the Pittsburgh Steelers last defeated the Baltimore Ravens. A lot has changed since then. What makes you think that the Steelers can break their losing streak against the Ravens this Christmas? (Or do you?)


  • 1. I would go with that. The secondary has been doing a pretty outstanding job as of late. Add the fact they are mostly younger guys and we could have a great future of cornerback play. It does also help that the defensive line and linebackers have also played outstanding football and pressuring the quarterback A LOT.

    2. I think he is a legit 2nd receiver for the time being. I think he looks the best as a slot receiver though. Next year will be interesting when factoring in Bryant’s return (my guess is he is returning?) and Sammy Coate’s continued development, etc.

    3. I would say the shoestring tackle was probably the most pivotal, and overlooked play he made, but he did add 18 points to the board for us. I will go with the field goals. 3 from 49 yards…..in the cold…..that is clutch.

    Also, had they made that touchdown, our td would have tied us up with them, prior to the extra point try. I feel safe in saying we would have kicked the ball and tacked on the extra point for the lead we never relinquished. So whether 4 points or 1 point victors, still a win.

    4. Harrison, mostly because they tend to have a soft spot for the aging stars that are still playing to a high level. Also, he has played beyond the level anyone could have thought. Not defense, but Boswell should be there.

    5. A few things:

    – The team is picking up as the season progresses and hitting its stride.
    – The defense has been playing much better than the “bend but don’t break” style of last year and early this year.
    – The game plan on offense has been stellar, and diverse the past few weeks, taking into account weather, opponent strength, etc. No reason to think differently for this game.
    – We are at home.


  • When did the season go to 18 games? Two games left, Browns and Purple Browns, and they are 9-7?
    Could be a type o I suppose, hopefully not an omen.


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