The Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Heinz Field, a game that was flexed from a 1 p.m. start to a 4:25 p.m. kickoff.
It’s a game that will have a lot of meaning for the Steelers, who need a win, and help along the way, to keep their playoff dreams alive.
For the Bengals, though, it is guaranteed to be their last game of the 2018 season, and that is what much of the talk in Cincinnati has been about this week. The Bengals have been focusing on finishing strong, especially going against a division opponent.
“It’s a game to finish the season that matters for us,” said Coach Marvin Lewis. “We are going on the road to play a division team. We have so many young players. I tell them these division games matter so much to you in your NFL career, you have to learn to find a way to beat the teams in your division.”
Lewis did weigh in on a variety of other topics, including Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Coach Marvin Lewis on the Steelers offense:
“It’s rare to get ready to play a team that’s had two receivers catch 100 passes in a year. These guys have had great seasons. In the last couple of games, they’ve been throwing the ball quite a bit. The running back, (James) Conner, hasn’t played the last couple of weeks, so they kind of morphed offensively. In preparation, you see which grouping you’ll get. They do a lot of things with their personnel.”
Lewis on Brown and Smith-Schuster:
“You have two outstanding receivers. Rarely do you see guys with 100 catches. They do both underneath and vertical. Both guys make large, explosive plays. They are competitive with the football. They run well with the ball after they catch it. You have to do a tremendous job. Not many teams have threats like that.”
Lewis on the Steelers throwing the ball more this year, which isn’t typical Steelers football:
“They have a fine quarterback, and they’re doing what they feel is (best) to win the football game.”
Lewis on the Steelers defense:
“The front always presents a challenge in preparation. We really have to button things down and be exact in our identifications.”
Guard Trey Hopkins on what he expects from Sunday’s game because of what’s on the line for the Steelers:
“It’s not just another game for them, but I think the mentality just kind of changes playing the Steelers. That’s always a big game for us. That’s always a very passionate game, very fiery game. That changes things by itself.”
Lewis on what he expects from Sunday’s game because of what’s on the line for the Steelers, if he thinks it will be a playoff like atmosphere:
“Division games always do — they never change. It’s a game in the National Football League. To me, I don’t think the intensity level of them changes.”
Lewis on what he has seen on film from the Steelers:
“The last couple of ball games, James Conner hasn’t played, so they’ve been a little different, particularly on first and second down. I think I said earlier that it’s rare to prepare for a team with two receivers who have had over 100 catches already. That’s rare, so it tells you how prolific they’ve been throwing the football this year.”