Joe Mixon faces Steel­ers,

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Chris Rol­ing

Sun­day, 1 p.m. ET, Paul Brown Sta­dium, Cincin­nati


Danny Sheri­dan’s line: Ben­gals by 2 1 ⁄2

Steel­ers’ keys to vic­tory: Spread it out. Pitts­burgh en­tered Week 5 with six play­ers sit­ting on dou­ble-digit re­cep­tions. Cincin­nati CB Wil­liam Jack­son did a qual­ity job on WR An­to­nio Brown last year, but the Ben­gals se­condary got ripped for 419 pass­ing yards and three touch­downs by Fal­cons QB Matt Ryan in Week 4 and has been sus­cep­ti­ble to in­ter­me­di­ate routes over the mid­dle. At­tack­ing there with WR JuJu SmithSchus­ter will al­low the Steel­ers to re­tain pos­ses­sion.

Ben­gals’ keys to vic­tory: Es­tab­lish the run. RB Joe Mixon re­turned in Week 5 with RB Gio­vani Bernard out, but a com­bi­na­tion of him not be­ing fully 100 per­cent and poor block­ing led to 22 car­ries for 93 yards in the win, the num­bers greatly skewed by a late 31-yard scam­per. If Mixon can’t get rolling early, the Ben­gals leave them­selves vul­ner­a­ble to brief pos­ses­sions and need­ing to be­come one di­men­sional of­fen­sively if the de­fense can’t con­tain Pitts­burgh’s pass­ing at­tack.

Matchup to watch: Steel­ers WR An­to­nio Brown vs. Ben­gals DB Wil­liam Jack­son. What else? If the Steel­ers can get Brown go­ing against Jack­son early, it de­mands a shift by the Cincin­nati de­fense, re­sult­ing in a strong cast of Pitts­burgh weapons else­where get­ting more room to work. Call it the domino point for both teams.

Who wins? These Ben­gals are oddly re­silient and, to his credit, QB Andy Dal­ton looks to be play­ing the best ball of his ca­reer, even when es­cap­ing the pocket. If he re­mains com­posed, he’ll out­gun the Steel­ers’ shaky se­condary.

Ben­gals, 30-27


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