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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Pittsburgh at Cleveland: 5 Things We Need to Know

The Pittsburgh Steelers, with a 3-2 record, are one of the worst teams in the NFL that currently post a positive record. The Steelers barely escaped Jacksonville with a win last week. Last week proved that the Steelers are not a good football team.

The Cleveland Browns are 2-2 and are fresh off a bye week. In the Browns’ last game, they completed a 25-point comeback victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Browns are not the most talented team, but they seem to be a team that has a lot of heart.

This Sunday marks the second time the Steelers and Browns will play each other this season. In their first meeting, in Week 1, the Steelers won 30-27. In that game, the Steelers were up 27-3 at the end of the first half, but the Browns would come soaring back. The Browns ended up tying the game at 27 in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers still came away with a victory.

This time around, with the game in Cleveland and the Steelers struggling, there could be a different result.

Joe Haden is struggling

Browns cornerback Joe Haden hasn’t played very well through the first quarter of the season. He is allowing a great deal of passes to be caught, which spells trouble for him this Sunday. The Steelers No.1 wide receiver Antonio Brown is on a roll this season. Brown already has 511 receiving yards and has caught 5 touchdowns this season – one of those touchdown receptions came against Haden in Week 1.

Browns must attack the Steelers on the ground

The Browns have been extremely successful running the football this season; they rank fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Steelers defense has struggled against the run this season, including in Week 1 against the Browns.

Steelers can’t waste redzone opportunities

This season, when the Steelers have the ball in the redzone, they have only been able to score a touchdown 43 percent of the time, which ranks as 26th in the league. The Steelers need to utilize running back Le’Veon Bell in the redzone more; he only has one total touchdown this season. Not being able to score touchdowns is one of the reasons why the Steelers are a bad team. They need to fix this issue if they want to improve.

Steelers likely to give Le’Veon Bell more carries

Last week against the Jaguars, Bell only received 15 carries, yet he had a rush of 29 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. The Steelers offense has scored 30-plus points this season in games during which Bell carries the ball 20-plus times. It is certainly a head-scratcher as to why the Steelers limit Bell’s carry total. Expect to see Bell carrying the football many times against the Browns.

Browns must put Ben Roethlisberger on his back

The Steelers’ offensive tackles, Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert, are mediocre pass blockers – both of whom have combined to allow 8 sacks through five games. Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger recorded 2 sacks against the Steelers in their first game of the season. Disrupting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s play is key to diluting the Steelers offense.

With the way the Steelers are playing, it is very hard to predict a victory for them. The Steelers defense will have trouble defending the Browns defense. The Steelers offense will keep it close, but the Browns will prevail. Prediction: Browns 34-31


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