Well, the silver lining is that the Browns won’t go 0-16. That’s all I’ve got up here today.
The Steelers suffered a big loss with DE Aaron Smith going down for the season with a rotator cuff injury. However, the Steeler defense tends to be a different animal with Captain Head and Shoulders back in the defensive backfield, and as Scott pointed out earlier this week it looks like S Troy Polamalu will play. The Browns have a tough offense to stop with Rashard Mendenhall looking better (though battling illness this week) and Fast Willie most likely coming back this weekend—and Big Ben always able to shred a defense that can’t get any pressure on him. Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Scott: …they play defense like they did against Buffalo, and run an offense like they did against Cincinnati…two years ago. Truth be told, this team needs an absolute miracle to win against the Steelers on the road. Pittsburgh is becoming healthier by the day and the only news about the Browns continues to be who will be traded by Tuesday afternoon. Derek Anderson needs to complete a few dozen passes more than he did last week. The wide receivers/tight ends need to catch every single pass thrown their way. We need to open up holes on the run game, and tackle in the open field. Oh, who am I kidding…
DP: …someone other than Dave Zastudil steps up. In all seriousness, after last week’s abomination of offensive football, the Browns has better hope that their offense can get back to at least moving the ball as they did against Cincinnati. While the defense was solid against the Bills, the Steelers are a completely different animal on offense, so repeated Browns 3-and-outs from DA and company will spell disaster. If the Browns can take advantage of the Steelers losing Smith on the DL and are able to run the ball, it will certainly help. On defense, Cleveland just HAS to get some pressure on Big Ben. The Browns have been stout against the run early in games, and if they can continue that and also not let Big Ben get comfortable, they have a chance to keep themselves in the game. But, a lot has to go right for the Browns to have a realistic shot to win.
RockKing: …they shutout the Steelers. Giving up 3 points to the Steelers probably won’t be good enough against the Towelies. So, the only way the Browns win this weekend is if they hold the Steelers to 0 points. Don’t get me wrong, the Browns still won’t score any points either, but at this point, a tie against the Steelers would feel like a win.
Rick: …a combination of things happen. First, the Steelers look past this week. Having beaten the Browns 11 straight times you could see how that might be easy to do. Next, the Browns continue to make progress in the running game. Two weeks in a row the Browns have had a 100 yard rusher. They will probably need another one if they are to beat Pittsburgh. Third, they need to make the Steelers one-dimensional. It could be easier with the report this morning that Mendenhall is battling the flu. Apply pressure to Ben and they could possibly pull it out.
Denny: …the Steelers really aren’t all that good. Honestly there have been very few signs of life from this Browns team. Yes – they’re pretty good on special teams. But offensively they have – how you say – struggled. The Steelers are good at the defense. As much as I would have thought going into the season that this game would be a blowout (and it still very may well be), we aren’t seeing a lot from the Steelers. It’s possible that they aren’t a great team. We know the Browns surely aren’t – but if the offense can get 10 points I think the Browns will have a shot at finding some opportunistic points. Realistically I think there’s been a lot of off the field distraction that may have taken the focus away for some players (though BQ isn’t starting so his house being on the market don’t matta). Don’t turn the ball over and the Browns might have a chance (so you’re saying there’s a chance?!)
Now, for the other side of the coin. It’s hard to get all fired up about our neighbors to the east, as this once-great “rivalry” has been anything but over the past decade. So, in the interest of being good neighbors, we reached out to some bloggers from Steeler country to get their takes on the game this weekend. We got one reply. It was simply, to the point, and sadly, accurate. Without further ado…
The Steelers Will Win If…
Donald Starver is the lead blogger for Steelers Today, which is a blog that provides original Steelers articles and analysis with a humorous twist.
…the Browns remember that they are the Browns. After all, losing to the Steelers is genetically programmed into the Browns. How many consecutive times have the Browns lost to the Steelers? 11? 15? 20? 50? Who can keep count? I just know that the number has got to be astronomical by now.
There was a time when I used to look forward to Steelers-Browns week. Steelers vs. Browns used to be like the Sharks vs. the Jets. Nowadays, it’s more like sharks battling seals. And the Browns are the seals. Cleveland has the best football fans outside of Western Pennsylvania. It’s too bad their football team isn’t worthy of them.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?