Steelers vs Bengals: What to expect when Pittsburgh is on defense

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When the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, they will be doing so with some key injuries. Starting outside linebacker Alex Highsmith is out as he continues to deal with a groin injury and the other starting outside linebacker T.J. Watt is questionable with the same injury.

Here’s what we expect to see with the Bengals have the football.

Cam Heyward taking over the game

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

When one star is hurt, the others have to step up their game. Defensive lineman Cam Heyward is still underrated in national circles but look for Heyward to have a big game as he helps pick up the slack from the injuries.

Sticking to the plan

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Even if Watt cannot go, I do not look for the Steelers coaches to deviate heavily from their game plan. The defense has played fairly well without a lot of blitzing given the number of injuries and I'm not looking for that to change this week

Big plays in the secondary

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

With cornerback Joe Haden coming back from injury, the secondary can take some chances Look for Haden and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to help lighten the load on the pass rush with some excellent individual performances.

Just some improvement

(AP Photo/Tom Puskar)

No bold predictions here. Let's just strive to get better. The Pittsburgh defense is allowing nearly 400 yards of offense per game this season and this is unacceptable regardless of injuries. These shortcomings are compounded by the fact the offense can't get any traction. So at home, against a division rival, I look for a much better all-around performance from this defense in front of the home crowd.

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