How to you preview an upcoming ass kicking? Hard to preview this game. The Steelers have beaten the Browns the last 11 times the two teams have faced each other, additionally, Pittsburgh has won 17 of the past 18 games in the series overall. It may not be considered a rivalry that it once was, but regardless it is always fun smacking around the Browns.
Offensively for the Steelers, they will look to run and run often on the Browns 32nd ranked defense that has given up 852 yards rushing in 5 games this season and have allowed 5.1 yards per carry. Running back Rashard Mendenhall looks to start for the Steelers with Willie Parker being mixed in. Parker should see his first action since suffering a toe injury versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback Roethlisberger will pick his spots through the air versus the Browns 10th ranked pass defense that is giving up only 209.8 yards per game. This statistic is a little misleading as teams have mostly run on the Browns instead of throwing.
Defensively the Steelers will hopefully welcome back strong safety Troy Polamalu to the lineup. He will likely be gradually worked in a be put on a play count in his first game back since opening night. Linebacker James Harrison looks to add to his sack total against a Browns team that has allowed 14 sacks through 5 games thus far. Disguised coverages will be the norm in attempt to confuse quarterback Derek Anderson, who completed just 2 passes last week against the Buffalo Bills.
The Browns have the ball they will look to run at the Steelers left end position that was previously held down by Aaron Smith. With Smith now out for the year, Travis Kirschke will likely get most of the work in his absence. He will be spelled on occasion by rookie Ziggy Hood and veteran Nick Eason. Jamal Lewis will likely be the Browns work horse ball carrier in the process. The Steelers want to shut the running game down and force Anderson to throw to win. The Browns receiving core is now without Braylon Edwards, who was traded to New York Jets some 10 days ago and is not very deep with talent.
Perhaps the Browns biggest weapon is return man Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs is leading the AFC with a 16.3 yard average on punt returns and is ninth in the league in kickoff returns at 26.1 yards. keeping him bottled up and away from the center of the field will be the Steelers plan on special teams.
In closing, this should be a laugher and over with by the 3rd quarter. Steeler Nation is expecting a blowout and anything less will be concerning. There will be no 4th quarter defense collapse in this game and Steeler Nation gets it\’s wish and 12th straight win against the Browns.
Prediction: Steelers 42 Browns 3