There hasn’t been a Steelers-Browns game like this in some time. These are two talented and competitive teams. While the Steelers have had some iffy teams here and there over the past decade and a half, however, that competitive disparity has been on Cleveland, which has frankly rarely been good for decades.
None of that matters in week six. The Steelers are 4-0. The Browns are 4-1. These are both good teams who have had substantial success already this season, and the Browns’ only loss is to the Baltimore Ravens in a rough opener, since which they have lit up the scoreboard. They’re having fun out there for the first time in a long time. but so are the Steelers.
“It’s easier to have fun when you’re winning”, Ben Roethlisberger told reporters on Wednesday. “Both teams are winning so both teams are having fun. And so, I’m sure that you are going to see two teams going out there this week that are excited and amped up and ready to play each other. It should be really good game”.
With Baltimore also 4-1 and set to face a bad Eagles team, there is a lot riding on the outcome of this game for an early-season matchup. The Ravens are likely to be 5-1. Whoever wins today’s game will have five wins as well. With the Steelers preparing to face the Ravens two weeks from now, that makes it all the more important to get this one in. But division games are always big.
“It truly doesn’t matter when we play AFC North football”, Roethlisberger said. “That’s why we say you throw records out the window because everybody is vying for that top spot. Everybody is going to give the other team their absolute best. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It doesn’t matter what the season record is, what the past record is. It’s really about trying to win the division”.
And trying to beat each other. While the faces in the rivalry are changing all the time—especially on Cleveland’s side—there’s still a long history between these two teams, and there are some names that prevail over time, including newer faces like Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield and JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt.
The priority first and foremost is, of course, for the Steelers to secure a victory over the Browns today. But beyond that, this should just be a good game against two quality opponents who are capable of making plays on both sides of the ball and who are not creating a lot of unforced errors. It’s good for the game, even if bad for our health as invested fans.