It’s Week 6. The Browns Bus is up on the racks for repairs. Sadly, the Steelers probably don’t care. Thinks look grim, and there’s a guy back for the Steelers this week who won’t respect it if the Browns ask him to stop working them over on Sunday.
On the road. Against 3-1 Pittsburgh who’s one last-minute Baltimore TD away from being 4-0. Without their starting QB. Who is now back. With a bye week to prepare. For the Browns. Who are starting a rookie third-string QB. And whose #1 “weapon” this year is knicked up. Sounds freakin’ AWESOME!! Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Craig: …they have an outstanding day on defense and keep Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace from connecting deep. In order for the Browns to compete with the Steelers this Sunday, I think the defense might have to produce some scores or a serious field position advantage. I am really concerned about the potential for a time of possession deficit that will wear down the Browns defense. Unless Colt McCoy has improved greatly in the first few weeks of the season in practice, I am concerned about his ability to accomplish much of anything in the passing game. If I was running the offense, I would use McCoy’s mobility on some rollout plays when I wasn’t attempting to pound the ball with Peyton Hillis and the newly acquired Mike Bell. Then again, we didn’t really see Daboll take advantage of Seneca Wallace’s mobility intentionally, so not much chance here with McCoy either, I wouldn’t imagine. Again, Josh Cribbs is an x-factor, but I have become increasingly tired of even saying it when the Browns’ special teams fail to deliver much of a punch this season.
Scott: …they can hold the Steelers to six points. The only chance that this offense will have to score is on special teams. Unfortunately, no one is kicking to Cribbs, so even that may be asking for too much.
DP: …a colossal logistical failure happens with Pittsburgh’s team bus/transportation. Or, Colt McCoy is Jesus. Possibly both. Really, on paper, this game is such a mismatch that it’s hard for me to think about “how the Browns can win” with a straight face. Of course, time of possession and control in the run game would help. McCoy not imploding would help. The Browns defense playing as well—probably better—than last week and forcing some turnovers from Big Ben and the Steelers’ offense would help. All of these things seemingly have to happen in concert for the Browns to even have a chance. In my head, though, I see this game ending up like the Christmas Eve Massacre from 2006 more than anything else.
Rick: …Big Ben is really rusty and makes two or three big mistakes. (Not out of the realm of possibility by the way.) The big problem is that the Steelers are one of the best teams (ok, statistically the best) against the run. Which is what the Browns will have to do. With a horse named Hillis with a bit of a gimpy leg. And some linemen that were limited in practice (4 of 6 that have started this season, but who’s counting?). Don’t forget a rookie QB seeing his first regular season action. Did I mention the Steelers had a bye last week? These are not factors that would lead one to believe a victory is in the cards for the Browns. But does that mean we should accept losing? We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance last year in a frigid Browns Stadium and we pulled out the win. What a story if young Colt leads the Browns to a victory over the hated Steelers in his first NFL game. Stuff of legends. Little boys all over Cleveland will be named Colt next year. Hutch uniform sales will skyrocket for Halloween. It can happen right! Right. Right?
Andrew: …Colt McCoy is the 2nd coming of Peyton Manning. As much as the Browns say they’re going to rely on their power running game and lean on their TEs in the passing game this week, I’m not sure trying to pound away at the Steeler’s rush defense is the way to win in Pittsburgh. I realize the Browns torched the Steelers’ rush defense last season for a combined 262 yards in the two meetings, but this year the Steelers lead the NFL is rushing yards allowed and the most they’ve given up in any game is 75 yards. When you combine that with the fact their defense has forced at least one turnover in every game they’ve played and you see why it’s so tough to win in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will hope to jump to an early lead and then force Colt McCoy to beat them with his arm. So it will be up to McCoy to do just that. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see the Browns having any success running on the Steelers now that Troy Polamalu is back. For the Browns to win this game, I think they are actually going to have to get lucky and have Colt make some plays with his arm. Hopefully he’s up for the task, but this is the ultimate trial by fire facing a Dick LeBeau defense in Pittsburgh.
TD: …Colt McCoy turns himself into Peyton Manning overnight….If Peyton Hillis magically is 100% healthy and runs the ball down the throats of one of the best run defenses in the league….if Josh Cribbs actually becomes a true factor on offense and breaks at least one, lets say two, returns for TD’s on special teams…..If Ben Roehtlisberger is SEVERLY rusty…..If they Browns D completely stifles Rashard Mendenhall and the Steelers rushing attack…If the Browns create at least two turnovers….. Then, MAYBE, the Browns will have a chance in this one. Maybe.
Normally we reach out to other bloggers. But I don’t like Steelers fans, so I didn’t do that this week. So, I’m leaving the rest up to you, WFNY readers. How are you feeling about this game?