2020 South Side Questions: Is Cleveland Pittsburgh’s Most Preferable Potential First-Round Opponent?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Should the Steelers want to face the Browns again next week in the first round of the postseason?

There is a reasonable case to be made that, of the teams they could possibly face in the first round of the 2020 postseason, the Browns are the team the Steelers should most want to see. The Baltimore Ravens have been a consistently better team, even if they managed to beat them twice. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans very much have the capability of being problems, as well.

The Miami Dolphins are another discussion. They have somehow continued to win game while not necessarily getting the greatest play from the quarterback position, and Tua Tagovailoa has already been benched a couple of games this year.

Obviously, the Steelers will know the Browns very well, perhaps better than any other opponent, but on the flip side, the Browns will also know them very well. They also obviously have a lot of success against the Browns, but this is also the best Cleveland team they’ve encountered in quite a while.

I’m certainly not suggesting that they might want to go out there on Sunday and let the Browns win to help them get into a position where they would face the Steelers in the first round—they can’t even do that, because their seeding depends upon the results of other games—but if they could choose, would their option for a first-round opponent be Cleveland?

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