QB Byron Leftwich - Pittsburgh Steelers
|6-5, 240||Born: 1-14-1980||College: Marshall||Drafted: Round 1, pick 7|
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Week 7: vs Cincinnati Bengals
All QB vs CIN
FBG says: Neutral matchup. Ben Roethlisberger is definitively slumping. He's currently sporting his lowest completion rate in 7 years, his worst interception rate in 11 years, and his lowest yardage per attempt and touchdown rate ever. Roethlisberger has thrown just 3 touchdowns over his last 4 games, averaging a ho-hum 254 yards over that span. Even the "Roethlisberger at home" narrative has failed him - his 5-interception debacle from Week 5 went down in Pittsburgh. He's difficult to trust for more than average numbers right now, and his weekly floor is descending. The slump hasn't reached Antonio Brown, though, who continues to make virtually every matchup his own. Brown has produced 110+ yards in 4 of his 6 games, and 155+ in 3 of them. His numbers might be even more impressive if not for penalties; Brown has drawn 63 yards' worth of pass interference calls and had 43 more wiped out by Steelers flags. If the Steelers can reintegrate Martavis Bryant into the scheme - and keep getting impressive boosts from rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster - there's dynamism aplenty here. But Roethlisberger has had a big hand in holding this unit back, and he'll need to bounce forward soon to give us any confidence.
The Bengals pass defense has been a pleasant mini-surprise for the up-and-down Bengals. It's true that they've only faced one objectively strong passer - Aaron Rodgers, who hung 313 yards and 3 touchdowns on them. But against their shakier opponents, they've been not just stingy, but dominant. Their 4 non-Rodgers quarterback opponents have averaged an anemic 4.73 yards per attempt and thrown just 2 touchdowns. And much of Rodgers' success came from masterfully extending plays; it's hard to fault the Bengals coverage units for that day. The cornerbacks have been generally stout all year, aided by a pass rush that's been swarming, headed by the fantastic Geno Atkins and rookie phenom Carl Lawson. Once Carlos Dunlap picks up steam - he's registered just 1 sack this year, but 30.5 since 2014 - this should be a downright dominant unit most weeks.
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