screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-4-09-19-pmBengals vs. Steelers

2016 NFL Week #2

If it’s Thursday, It Must Be Football…or Costa Rica

My girlfriend Maggie and I are on a “red eye” to Costa Rica for a relaxing week of thunderstorms, mosquito bites, running away from snapping crocodiles and getting robbed by machete-wielding teenagers.

We’re not really sure why we booked this adventure, but here we are, on our way. We’ll land in a few hours in San Jose (not the one nobody knows the way to) then take a 4-hour bus ride to Cahuita, a lovely balmy seaside town on the Caribbean side where we’ll probably die.

My girlfriend, she of the blood type that Zika-carrying skeeters adore, has packed her small suitcase with 17 different kinds of repellant. She plans to slather herself with the fragrant organic stuff, the hardcore stuff containing Deet™ (Toxic? Probably) the lemon smelling stuff and the handy dandy repellant wipes. She’ll probably smell like the Meadowlands in New Jersey, but I’m willing to get a contact high or cancer from all the chemicals. That, my friends, is true love.

Being a real L.A. woman, Maggie has never experienced the joys of 90-degree heat with matching humidity. Oh, she is in for a treat! I, on the other hand, am an East Coast guy who has suffered through summers in Buffalo, Boston, NYC and one amazingly brutal week in New Orleans. In August.

Still, apart from probably getting murdered or eaten by a reptile, I will be glad to be away, even though I will miss the Steelers game, Monday Night Football, Tuesday-Thursday Night football and all the games in between.

Roger Goodell must really dislike professional football players. My other favorite team, the Bills, lost on Thursday after getting a whopping three days of rest in between games, a way-too-short time to heal bruises, soak in nice warm tubs sans crocodiles and kick back and admire one’s major bone breaks.

I don’t like Thursday Night Football. It feels as unnatural as a Twinkie. And I’m glad I’ll be away next Thursday so I won’t have to watch. Plus, I don’t think I can get Twitter in Costa Rica. Or Half ‘n’ Half!!!!

Why did we plan this stupid trip?

 The Cincinnati Bengals may be saying the same thing right now because they’re planning a trip to Pittsburgh for a SUNDAY GAME! against our beloved Steelers, a game that on paper looks competitive. But football games are not played on paper; I am told they are played on nice green grass or artificial turf.

Sure, the Bengals won’t be bitten up by mosquitos, but there’s a good chance they’ll be repelled by the red-hot boys from Pittsburgh. Let’s take a look at the matchup, si?


 Secrets aren’t very secretive these days, thanks to WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and Kaitlyn Jenner. That why it’s no secret that Ben Roethlisberger will be throwing to Antonio “Encyclopedia” Brown all day long. If he gave Josh Norman fits last week, imagine what he’ll do to Adam Jones or Dre Kirkpatrick.

Markus Wheaton will be back for this game and that will give Big Ben more options. DeAngelo Williams will ground and pound against a Bengal’s front seven that gave up 5.1 ypc against the Jets.


A.J. Green is perhaps the best A.J. since A.J. Foyt; only Foyt was faster –mostly because he was driving a racecar. Nevertheless, Green torched the Jets last week to the tune of 180 yards and a touchdown. If the season ended today, he and Antonio would be very upset because they get paid per game.

It’s pretty clear that Steelers fans will be treated to a Brown-Green extravaganza, even though I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing those two colors together for fear a crocodile would mistake me for a hamburger with a side of guacamole.

Andy Dalton, despite being sacked seven times, did yeoman’s work last week, throwing for 366 yards. He won’t match that total this week, and the Steelers defense, even if Ryan Shazier doesn’t suit up, should be able to contain him.

The Bengals rushing game is mediocre at best and should not be a major factor. Look for Dalton to throw a lot. But it won’t be enough.


It’s the first home game. Need I say more?

Yes, there may be thunderstorms in the forecast, but that should not affect the outcome, except for the sale of ponchos, the kind of ponchos Maggie and I will be wearing every day in Costa Rica.

Magic 8-Ball was very good to me last week. Let me shake him again…

Oh wondrous and plastic Magic 8-Ball, will the Steelers win on Sunday?

 (shaking the ball furiously)

 Magic 8-Ball says, “Ooh baby, you can bet the house!”


Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger, under a cabana down by the river in Costa Rica