Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Preview: A Rivalry Renewed

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Preview: A Rivalry Renewed

Barry Devoe
1 year ago
2 min read
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Preview: A Rivalry Renewed

Things will get interesting in Week Eight when the Pittsburgh Steelers clash with the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North rivalry game. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the Browns knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs last season. At home, the Browns are favored by 3.5 points with the over/under set at 42.5 points.

The Browns narrowly avoided a three-game losing streak last Thursday with a 17-14 win over the Broncos. It wasn’t the most convincing game, but considering their injuries, it was an important win for the Browns. Heading into back-to-back games against division rivals, Cleveland is just one game off the pace in the AFC North.

As for the Steelers, they enter this weekend at 3-3, which puts them last in the AFC North. Of course, all is not lost for Pittsburgh coming back from the team’s bye week. After enduring a three-game losing streak earlier this season, the Steelers have won back-to-back games over the Broncos and Seahawks and have a favorable schedule that could allow them to win five straight if they can leave Cleveland with a win.

Ugly But Effective

Things have looked ugly for the Pittsburgh offense this year, as it’s become clear that Ben Roethlisberger is a shadow of his former self. At the same time, the Pittsburgh rushing attack is gaining just 3.7 yards per carry with just four players of 20 or more yards all season. However, things are slowly moving in the right direction after the Steelers combined for 50 points in wins over the Broncos and Seahawks. 

Of course, the Pittsburgh defense remains a powerful force that is keeping the Steelers in games. While they couldn’t overcome a few subpar performances from the offense in September, the Steelers are giving up just 22 points per game, which should give them a fighting chance most weeks. The concern is a downgrade in the team’s usually stout run defense, although the Pittsburgh pass rush and secondary are still in good shape.

Walking Wounded

The Cleveland offense is difficult to project in this game with so many key players listed as questionable. There’s at least some chance that Baker Mayfield returns after missing last week’s game, although Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, and Odell Beckham are also listed as questionable. Injuries are also piling up on the Cleveland offensive line, which has helped to fuel the team’s exceptional rushing attack all season.

That means the Browns will need more out of their defense in this game. Naturally, there are injuries on that side of the ball, not to mention lingering concerns after the Browns allowed 84 total points in losses to the Chargers and Cardinals earlier this month. However, things on that side of the ball looked better last week, especially when the Browns have a lead and can unleash Myles Garrett.

Not a Beauty Contest

Given Cleveland’s injuries and Pittsburgh’s offensive shortcomings, this game figures to be a defensive slugfest. The Browns might have a slight edge with their rushing attack. However, how many of Cleveland’s injured stars are able to play in this game could decide the outcome.

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