New series we’ll do each Sunday morning before kickoff. A prediction of what will happen if the Pittsburgh Steelers win, if they lose, and my final score prediction. My outlook on this afternoon’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
The Steelers Will Win If…
– They establish a ground game. Passing the ball in general may be tough given the difficult weather conditions so they’ll have to rely on a lot of Le’Veon Bell. There’s a reason why Maurkice Pouncey is our X-Factor this week. The Browns’ run defense is in the bottom third so there’s an obvious opportunity here.
– They’re able to create YAC. With it supposed to be a windy day, airing it out deep might be a challenge. So when the Steelers throw, they’re going to rely on their short range game. Lot of screens, some underneath staples. Antonio Brown will obviously need to lead that charge, like he always does, but he’s your best YAC threat. Ladarius Green might be second.
– Stephon Tuitt has a stellar performance. They need to lean on him as their best defensive linemen and the matchup is good, especially if he gets moved around. Right guard John Greco is tough but Cameron Erving at center and rookie Spencer Drango at left guard are obvious weaknesses. At least one sack from him, he’s tied for the team lead in pressures, would be vital.
The Steelers Will Lose If…
– They don’t handle the Browns’ new wrinkles. Hue Jackson is as creative a playcaller as anyone in the league and they’ve had ten days to prepare for this game. I have to think they, at 0-10, does something new, even for himself. Steelers have to be able to prepare for that unknown element and as you can tell, that’s not easy to do.
– Isaiah Crowell has a big day. Cleveland’s run game has stalled out but they’ve reaffirmed their commitment to the run game and of course, the Steelers are without Cam Heyward. It has the makings for a repeat of the Miami Dolphins’ debacle.
– The Browns’ cornerbacks surprise. Cleveland may only have eight interceptions this season but they all come from their cornerbacks. They’ve made some plays for them. Joe Haden is the most well-known guy but Tramon Williams is a veteran while they’ve had some rookies come in and produce.