Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow on game against Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow did something he hadn’t done in his career as a starting quarterback in the NFL in Week 3 – lead the Bengals to a road win over the Steelers. On Sunday, Burrow has a chance to do something Cincinnati hasn’t done since 2009 – sweep Pittsburgh.

This game has high stakes for the division standings and playoff race. The Bengals at 6-4 rank No. 2 in the AFC North and are the No. 5 seed in the AFC currently. The Steelers 5-4-1 would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today but are very much in the mix for the final Wild Card spot.

Joe Burrow film room:Why he played well in Bengals win over the Raiders

It will take a strong performance for Burrow and the Bengals to accomplish that feat. For Burrow in particular, this game will be much different, and he knows it. In the Week 3 win over the Steelers, All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt was not on the field as he was dealing with a groin injury. Watt is expected to play this time around and the Bengals are taking note.

“They didn’t have TJ Watt, that’ll definitely, you’ve always got to be aware of him,” Burrow said. “It’ll be a different game.”

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws out of the pocket in the second quarter during a NFL Week 11 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Joe Burrow preparing for Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt's return

In the first meeting between Watt and Burrow, it was Watt who got the better end of the matchup. The Steelers beat the Bengals 36-10 in Week 10 and Watt had two sacks on Burrow and hit him four times.

And while the Bengals and Burrow are playing better this season, Watt is the type of player who’s capable of taking over a game. Watt ranks No. 2 in the NFL in sacks with 12.5 and has forced three fumbles.

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If the Bengals can run the ball like they did against the Raiders last week, they could neutralize Watt’s impact and put less on Burrow’s shoulders. One of Burrow’s best qualities as a football player is his ability to adapt as a quarterback to what’s going on in the game. If the game is shaping out to be a run-first game for the Bengals, Burrow is all for sticking to what is working. If it means he needs to throw for over 300 yards and lead his team to a win, he’s also proved he’s capable of that. Look no further than his performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4 to see that when he led the Bengals’ second-half comeback.

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