The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the winless Cleveland Browns on the road Sunday in a game that could feature some poor weather conditions. Below are five Steelers players to watch closely against the Browns as all five could wind up being huge difference makers in this contest.
Ladarius Green – Green made his Steelers debut last Sunday and registered 3 catches for 30 yards in just 12 snaps played. Against the Browns on Sunday, I fully expect his playing time to roughly double. The Steelers offense should have plenty of opportunities to attack the middle of the field and down the seams against the Browns defense and that’s where Green is expected to make his contributions.
Stephon Tuitt – With Cameron Heyward now out for the remainder of the season, it will be up to Tuitt to anchor the Steelers defensive line moving forward. He is expected to be moved around quite a bit in Sunday’s game against the Browns and should have success against center Cameron Erving and guard Spencer Drango. Tuitt is due for a contract extension after the season is over and thus can increase his value in these final seven games with strong performances.
Cobi Hamilton – with Browns cornerback Joe Haden expected to stick close to Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown quite a bit on Sunday, Hamilton figures to face a lot of single coverage on the opposite side of the field. Should Browns cornerback Tramon Williams wind up sitting this game out with his injury, Hamilton, should have a tasty matchup. When the Steelers offense is going with the wind on Sunday, expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to take a deep shot or two in the direction of Hamilton down the sidelines. The Browns defense has already allowed 32 deep pass completions so far this season with an average gain of 30.53 yards per reception. It would be nice to see Hamilton get at least one that long on Sunday.
Ryan Shazier – Sunday against the Browns is the kind of game where Shazier will be expected to light-up the stat sheet with tackles. Not just any tackles, but meaningful tackles with a few winding up in losses. Expect him to use his speed to knife through gaps against a Browns interior offensive line that’s not overly talented in the middle.
Artie Burns – Sunday will be a perfect opportunity for Burns to make the next jump in his development. He’ll likely be asked to cover Browns leading wide receiver Terrelle Pryor quite a bit in this game. Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler will likely test the Steelers first-round draft pick early and often and especially when it comes to quick slants and back shoulder throws. Burns also needs to be on the lookout for quick screens to his side and show that he can fight through blocks on his way to making physical tackles.