After months of waiting, Bengals fans can finally sigh in relief as Cincinnati Bengals football is officially back this Sunday. Typically, the Cincinnati Reds season helps us all remain patient enough to wait for September football, but after the season the Reds are having and the way last season ended for the Bengals, patience was wearing thin for Bengals fans. Sundays, Monday nights and Thursday nights are booked for the foreseeable future.
Anyone who is not a football fan, ensure you don’t schedule any type of events during this time, as doing so presents a bigger “party foul” than spilling a drink on new carpet. Enough with talking about the anticipation though, let’s dive right into the matchup on Sunday against the Steelers.
What to watch for
In order for the Bengals to leave Paycor Stadium on Sunday with an undefeated record, Cincinnati will need to be on its “A game.” Yes, I believe we have a much better roster on paper, and yes, we were in the Super Bowl last season. But we have to put the past aside and understand that this is still a tough rival opponent. Our starters didn’t play in the preseason and I believe penalties will be something to keep an eye on, as we have a lot of new faces at the line of scrimmage with limited snaps together.
Mitch Trubisky is the projected starting quarterback for the Steelers, but they have Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph who we must plan for as well, as any of these quarterbacks could end up taking over the starting role. While keeping pressure on the quarterbacks will be key, last season Najee Harris only ran for 40 yards in week 3 and 23 yards in week 12 against Cincinnati. Replication of these numbers will be huge for Cincinnati, as Harris is one of the most talented backs in the league.
While everyone is excited to see how Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow plays with a new and improved offensive line, Joe Mixon will be running for the first time behind a line of this stature as well. Overall, I believe the Bengals defense, and our electric offensive weapons, will be too much for the Steelers resulting in the Bengals covering the 6.5 point spread with a 31-13 victory over the Steelers.
Sara Elyse joins Matt’s Take
This week, Sara Elyse was kind enough to join Matt’s Take on very short notice. Sara works for iHeart Media, is sponsored by Skyline Chili, is a news anchor on WLW, has quite the following on Twitter from Cincinnati sports fans, and previously worked at WCPO and for the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Q: Working at 700 WLW, who has been the most interesting person you have talked with?
A: “…Aside from all of my friends/co-workers at the station, I recently did an interview with Anthony Muñoz at a golf outing. He had so many interesting stories and I could have talked to him for hours!”
Q: If you could eat Skyline and talk Cincinnati sports with any past or present Reds/Bengals player, who would you choose?
A: “Thank you! I am so excited to work with my favorite Cincinnati restaurant! If I could eat Skyline with any past Reds player it would be Barry Larkin. Current – Joey Votto. Past Bengals player – Ocho! Current – Joe Burrow.”
Q: What is your prediction on the final standings between the teams in the AFC North?
A: “Bengals 12-5, Ravens 11-6, Steelers 10-7, Browns 8-9.”
Q: Lastly, what is your final score prediction for Sunday?
A: “24-14 Bengals! WHO DEY!”
Steering in the right direction
While the Reds may be 53-79, I still enjoy every inning of Reds baseball. The future of the Reds is in great shape and this past week we were able to watch an incredible debut from 24-year-old Spencer Steer. He was acquired in the Tyler Mahle trade and I believe the Twins may regret this trade for quite some time. Steer had a phenomenal debut, as he reached base four times in his first game (first Red to do so since Jay Bruce in ‘08). Steer’s last hit lead to a Jonathan India walk-off with Joey Votto giving the call from the booth.
Watching Steer during the last bit of this season, along with Friedl, and keeping an eye on our prospects will be highly enjoyable, as we have a lot of talent coming through the system. Imagining a roster that includes De La Cruz, Steer, Marte, India, Stephenson, Friedl, Lodolo, Greene, and Ashcraft is something we all should be excited about.
Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.