The Steelers aren't sure if they will face Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron or Andy Dalton this week, but there is one A.J. they are certain they will have to prepare for.
That would be A.J. Green, the Bengals sensational fifth-year receiver.
"He is a beast," said safety Robert Golden. "He is one of the best in the league and has been one of the best in the league for a long time now. It's hard to stop him."
Green has put up at least 1,000 yards in each of his five NFL seasons, and double-digits in touchdowns three of the five years. This year he has 86 receptions for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns and will be someone the Steelers will have to focus on stopping on Saturday night when the two teams meet in the AFC Wild Card game at Paul Brown Stadium.
"The coaches will come up with a detailed game plan and some things we can do to try and minimize his role," said Allen. "It's hard to do that when he is one of the top receivers in the league every year."
Green has done damage against the Steelers this season. In the Steelers 33-20 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati, Green pulled in six receptions for 132 yards and a 66-yard touchdown. Green also had 11 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in a 16-10 Bengals win over the Steelers at Heinz Field.
"They have been getting big chunk plays, the big play against us," said Allen. "He had a lot of yards against us. A.J. Green is one of the best in the league and he can definitely be a game changer."
The Steelers will have to bring their 'A' game for a full 60 minutes on Saturday to shutdown Green and the Bengals weapons, and pay attention to details, not letting anything slip through the cracks.
"We have to hold true to what we do best and be highly detailed and execute," said Allen. "If we play the game the way we know how and detail our work, we are a tough defense to beat. A lot of people talk about the yards we give up in the secondary. Usually when that happens we are getting turnovers, we are causing havoc up front with the defensive line and making teams one dimensional. Our formula for winning has been getting turnovers and sacks. When we do that we make the field longer for the opposing team. I think we have a great opportunity ahead of us going against the Bengals."