The moment everyone has been waiting for since February. Football has returned to save the world from the hours of boredom that consumed the dog days of summer. Pittsburgh Steelers’ football is right around the corner as well, as the team prepares to take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. With that comes another year and installment of By the Numbers, your go to guide on all the stats you need to know before Sunday’s big game.
4 – Over the past 15 seasons, the Browns have accumulated just four wins against the Steelers. Since the 2003 season, the Browns are just 4-26 against the Steelers. A one-sided rivalry, the Steelers have stood their ground over the Browns with Ben Roethlisberger at hand. The Ohio native is already the winningest quarterback in Cleveland’s history and is 22-2 against the Browns in his career. With Roethlisberger at helm, the Browns have had a hard time slaying the Steelers and Big Ben.
82.5 – There is one thing already confirmed for Sunday’s matchup and that is running back James Conner is going to receive his first NFL start in place of Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers should be confident in his abilities as Conner received an 82.5 PFF rating for his efforts this preseason, the highest grade among all running backs. In limited action, Conner accumulated 100 yards on 19 carries, good for a 5.3 yards per attempt. More importantly though, he also added 61 receiving yards on seven receptions. If the Steelers want to take the jets out of Bell’s hold out, they will need Conner to carry over his preseason success into Sunday.
106.6 – In five career games against the Steelers, Browns’ receiver Josh Gordon has averaged 106.6 receiving yards per game. Gordon has caught almost 70-percent of all passes coming his way against the Steelers and has been a real thorn in their side. Luckily for the Steelers, the talented receiver will not start Sunday according to coach Hue Jackson but you can still expect to see Gordon receive significant playing time. If the Steelers can contain the talented receiver, their odds of winning drastically improve.
128.8 – The biggest battle between the Browns and Steelers may just come in the trenches as the Browns’ running game goes head to head with the Steelers front seven. The Browns averaged 128.8 rushing yards per game in the preseason, good for fifth most in the NFL while the Steelers allowed just 78.8 rushing yards per game. The Browns have revitalized the running back position this offseason, adding Carlos Hyde and drafting Nick Chubb to compliment Duke Johnson. Three quality running backs means a fresh set of legs are always available to be substituted into the backfield at any time. The Steelers front seven will have to hold their own and keep pace against the Browns’ three headed monster.
319.8 – If there is anyone worried about Roethlisberger coming out rusty due to limited preseason activity, here are some numbers to ease your worries. Roethlisberger has averaged 319.8 passing yards in his last four-season openers, along with completing 68.9-percent of his passes and achieving a passer rating of 95.0 or higher in all four of his last season openers. The Steelers’ captain has generally come out of the gate strong, no matter how many preseason reps he has received.