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Week 9 Takeaways: Steelers Look Beatable Ahead of Matchup Against Bengals

Week 9 Takeaways: Steelers Look Beatable Ahead of Matchup Against Bengals

CINCINNATI — The Steelers squeaked by the shorthanded Cowboys on Sunday. 

Dallas was playing without their first and second string quarterbacks, their starting left tackle and other key pieces. 

The Cowboys lost the game, but they gave the Steelers all they could handle in the 24-19 loss. 

Dallas led 13-0 in the first half and 19-9. They gave up both leads, as Pittsburgh scored the final 15 points of the game. 

The Steelers improve to 8-0 and are still the only undefeated team in the NFL. 

Sunday's win felt like an inevitable ending, but it also showed that Pittsburgh is beatable.

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The Bengals can beat the Steelers in Week 10. They have more talent than Dallas. They have a better quarterback and just as much talent at the skill positions.

The Cowboys almost overcame Gilbert and a bad defense. They contained Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense for most of the game. In fact, Dallas out-gained Pittsburgh 364-355. 

The Cowboys had multiple drives stall out in the end zone, including one that was set up by a trick play on a punt return. 

Some Cincinnati fans are going compare Sunday's matchup against the undefeated Steelers with the Bengals' win over the undefeated Chiefs in 2003. That was a signature win of the Marvin Lewis era.

How did the Bengals win that game? With two second half touchdowns. First, a 73-yard punt return score from Peter Warrick in the third quarter. He followed that up with a 77-yard touchdown that sealed the game. 

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If the Bengals are going to pull off an upset Sunday, then they're going to need a few big plays.

Of course they need to keep Joe Burrow upright, which is something that's said before every game. It's much easier said than done with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree on the other side. 

Finding a way to create unexpected points matters in a game like this. It could be the difference between knocking the Steelers out or allowing them to hang around like Dallas did on Sunday.

The Cowboys did a lot of things right, but they were one play away from ending the game. 

They ran the ball for 144 yards (4.6 yards-per-carry) even though star running back Ezekiel Elliott only had 51 yards rushing (2.8-per-attempt). 

Establishing the run with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard is crucial to Sunday's game. It's fun watching Burrow throw, but this offensive line wasn't built to pass protect 50 times per game—especially against a defense like the Steelers. 

The Bengals need to get Mixon involved in the passing game, assuming he returns this week after missing the past two games with a foot injury. 

Cincinnati's offense flowed like a well-oiled machine with Bernard at running back. They used him all over the field.

If the Bengals can pick up right where they left off, then they'll have a shot at pulling off the upset on Sunday against the Steelers.

Pittsburgh was probably looking past Dallas. They may look past Cincinnati on Sunday. 

The Steelers opened as a nine-point favorite.

The Bengals can't control that. They can go to Pittsburgh with an aggressive game plan that was constructed to pull off the upset. 

From trick plays to blitzes and anything in between—this Bengals' coaching staff should pull out all the stops on Sunday. 

The Cowboys did and they almost left with a victory. 

For more on the Bengals, including the latest NFL news, go here!