This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns will face the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 121st time since the rivalry began. The Steelers visit Cleveland Browns Stadium and come in sort of limping. Here is a break down of what the Steelers bring to the table.
At quarterback, the Steelers are severely hurting. Ben Roethlisberger is out with a rib injury and back up Byron Leftwich was pretty banged up during last Sunday night’s losing brawl with the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers will look to long time veteran Charlie Batch to be their signal caller and newly signed free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer will back him up. Pittsburgh is a night and day team without Roethlisberger and will be very vulnerable at the quarterback position Sunday.
In another disappointing position, the Steelers use a handful of running backs because of Rashard Mendenhall‘s in ability to stay healthy. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are the work horses. Both are big and physical running backs. The Browns defensive line, coming off a nice performance against the Dallas Cowboys, must be prepared to stop the run.
Perhaps the most threatening player on offense is receiver Mike Wallace. Despite holding out in the beginning of the season, Wallace has 46 receptions and six touchdowns. However, having good quarterback play has been the reason for Wallace’s success. On the other side, the versatile Antonio Brown has been out for the last couple weeks and may return. The Steelers are so desperate for receiving help, they have signed 35 year old Plaxico Burress. A return to Pittsburgh will be interesting for Burress.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Pittsburgh’s strength has always been their defense. Led by hard hitting James Harrison, the Steelers continue to be a stellar defense year in and year out. One big problem though, all pro safety and Head & Shoulders model, Troy Polamalu cannot stay healthy. The Browns must not be fooled by the aging Steelers. Their defense is number one in the NFL for yards allowed per game. The Steelers are number one in pass defense and top five in rush defense.
Surprisingly, Pittsburgh only has five interceptions on the year to go along with eighteen sacks. The Steelers play feisty and are aggressive. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau dials up blitzes that confuse opposing QBs.
This game will be won down in the trenches and will be a grind it out type of contest. The Steelers will come to Cleveland ready to play after losing in the previous week. Let’s just hope the Steelers had there fare share of tryptophan on Thursday.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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