Steelers versus Browns, of course, I’m watching. Cleveland hosts Pittsburg this Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, 1:00 pm EST. The Steelers rank 28th in total offense averaging 284 yards, 180 yards passing, 103 yards rushing and 17.3 points a game. They’re ranked 28th in total defense allowing 380 yards, 248 yards passing, 131 yards rushing, and 20.2 points a game. The Browns are ranked seventeenth in total offense averaging 333 yards, 185 yards passing, 148 yards rushing and 23.8 points a game. They’re ranked first in total defense allowing 243 yards a game, 151 yards passing, 92 yards rushing and 18.9 points a game. What am I watching?
Browns Offense Vs. Steelers Defense. If you look at the overall statistics, the Steelers defense isn’t that good, the 25th against the run, the 27th against the pass and 28th overall. What they do extremely well is force turnovers. They’re number one in forced turnovers with eighteen and have the third-highest turnover rate at 10 percent. The Steelers are a +52.1 in expected points on turnovers, first in the league. They also are first in redzone takeaways. In their last two games, Tennessee and Green Bay, the game ended with a Pittsburgh interception in the end zone. They play a traditional 3-4 defense, blitz 41% of the time and are in man coverage 47% of the time. The pressure comes from linebackers Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt. Highsmith has eight career sacks versus the Browns and Watt has sixteen. The Steelers will be without safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Keanu Neal, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive tackle Montravius Adams. The Browns will need to play a clean game when it comes to turnovers, meaning none. The Steelers give up 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs and 195 yards per game to wide receivers. Cleveland needs to play like they did in the second half of last week’s game, run the ball, use the short passing game and control the clock. Continue to be patient in the long passing game.
Browns Defense Vs. Steelers Offense. Like the defense, the Steelers aren’t very good on offense, statically. They’re 28th in total yards, 29th in passing yards, 23rd in third down conversion and last in red zone drives. Pittsburgh has only 18 red zone trips, the least by any team at this point in the season in league history. They’re also last in point and yard differential. What they do well is score off of turnovers and win one-score games. Quarterback Kenny Pickett is 11-3 in one-score games. The Steelers have started to have success running the ball. In the last two games, they’ve averaged 185 rushing with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Stopping the run is a priority, the Browns hit opposing running backs behind the line of scrimmage 55.1% of the time, which is first in the league. The two players on the Steelers offensive line the Browns can take advantage of are left tackle Dan Moore and center Mason Cole. Moore has allowed 28 pressures (first in the league) and two sacks and Cole is the worst-graded center in the NFL. Quarterback hits are just as important as sacks. Stop the run, pressure the quarterback and play error-free football, no stupid penalties.
Weird things always happen when the Steelers and the Browns play a game, let’s hope for a normal game where the officials don’t make a difference.