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Friday, December 2, 2011
Matchup to watch: Dalton vs. LeBeau

By Jamison Hensley

Here's a top matchup heading into Sunday's Bengals-Steelers game along with a take from Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.

Who: Bengals QB Andy Dalton vs. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau

Breakdown: Dalton has thrown for 2,509 yards, which ranks 16th in the NFL this season. The rookie second-round pick has thrown 16 touchdowns, which is the second-most by a rookie after 11 games since the 1970 merger. Dalton posted a 105.6 passer rating last Sunday, the fourth time this season with a 100-plus rating. LeBeau, 74, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, is in his 11th season as the Steelers defensive coordinator (over two stints). The Steelers rank second in defense this season. From 2007 to 2010, Pittsburgh has ranked in the top 5 under LeBeau.

Williamson's take: "LeBeau is a master at messing with young quarterback's minds. His defenses are very demanding, both from a physical and mental standpoint. A key ingredient in this particular matchup is the availability of Troy Polamalu, as he can act as the true wild card with his ability to align all over the formation and at any level of the defense. But Dalton is wise beyond his years in deciphering and reading defense and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has done an excellent job of keeping him under control and not putting too much on the rookie's plate."