When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals there is really only one thing that’s certain: cornerback Ike Taylor is going to be a busy man.
You can expect that Taylor will be on young Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green every play and will hopefully be up for the challenge of shutting down one of the NFL’s best weapons.
If history is any indication, Taylor should be just fine.
Green is coming off of a game in which he caught nine passes for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bengals’ season-opening loss to the Bears on Sunday. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looked his way 13 times in the opening week.
However while Green is capable of being a difference-maker, the Steelers should be plenty confident in Taylor’s abilities to stay with him.
In the three previous meetings in which Taylor and Green were matched up, the No. 4 pick of the 2011 NFL draft has caught a combined nine passes for 131 yards.
Green did have an impressive 10 catches for 116 yards the last time the Steelers played the Bengals, but Taylor missed that game with a broken ankle.
However you can’t just count on the fact that Taylor has had success against Green in the past, as the Georgia product has become one of the league’s most complete receivers over the course of the past two years. At 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, Green is not only tall and fast, but is an outstanding route runner.
Being the complete package that he is, Green will present Taylor with one of his toughest challenges of the season. Given the fact that Taylor has had some success before, you have to wonder how much help he is going to get with Green.
Whoever wins the Taylor-Green matchup will play a large role in who wins this Monday night division battle.
One thing is for sure: if Taylor doesn’t have success, the Steelers won’t have a chance.