Cleveland Browns VS. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10 Reasons Pittsburgh Will Win
I wake up every Sunday during the NFL season with a smile on my face and I wait very impatiently until the Steelers game is set to start.
This past weekend however, I awoke to a horrible reality.
The Steelers were on their bye week and not playing!!
I know that this reality must have been frightening and scarring to everyone and I even cried a little myself.
Though I was able to pull myself together enough to watch the other NFL games on the schedule in week five and keep on living.
Now that that horrific Sunday has past we can all look forward to the Steelers this Sunday!
Here are 10 reasons the Steelers WILL beat the Cleveland Browns in week six.
Colt McCoy gets thrown to the wolves
With injuries to both quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Senaca Wallace, Cleveland is forced to start rookie third round pick Colt McCoy against the Steelers.
This is not a good situation for McCoy to make his first start of his career, especially given the fact that the defense should be extra angry for giving up that late touchdown to the Ravens in week four.
I expect the Steelers to stack the line against the run and then unleash anything and everything after McCoy the whole game.
I honestly have nothing against McCoy either, and I liked him at Texas and coming into the NFL. I believe, if given time to develop, Colt could become a good quarterback in the league.
It is unfortunate for him that his first start comes against the Steelers who have one of the more dominant defenses in the NFL and I believe McCoy will have a rough time on Sunday.
Peyton Hillis won’t be as beastly
Peyton Hillis has been one of the lone bright spots for the Browns and has rushed for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns so far this season, including a 144 yard performance against the Ravens.
After a good season in 2009, Jerome Harrison was supposed to be the starter, however due to injury and poor play, Harrison was benched in favor for Hillis and was actually just traded to the Eagles for fellow running back, Mike Bell.
Hillis has been very impressive, although he is nursing a thigh injury that he sustained last week against the Falcons.
There is still a good chance that Peyton will play this Sunday against the Steelers; however he will not be 100 percent and therefore at an extreme disadvantage against a defense that has already shut down the likes of Chris Johnson and Michael Turner.
Like Colt McCoy, I actually like Peyton Hillis, nevertheless I believe the Steelers are going to shut down the ground game of the Browns and force McCoy to try to beat them through the air.
Browns Shotty Defense
During the offseason the Browns made some moves to try and sure up their defense.
They brought in linebacker Scott Fujita from the Saints, cornerback Sheldon Brown from the Eagles, cornerback Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward from the draft, and sent Kamerion Wimbley to the Raiders for a third round pick in this past draft.
With all of these and other moves the Browns defense looks to be improving, yet have given up leads in every game this season.
As it stands, the Browns defense is ranked 18th in passing and 23rd in rushing yards giving up 223.2 and 120.0 respectively, per game.
That does not really bode well for the Browns considering the Steelers are currently ranked 8th in rushing yards even without Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games.
The Defense Is Angry
Even after a bye week, Lawrence Timmons is still fifth in the league in tackles and was number one after the first four weeks of the season.
Timmons has been on a tear throughout the first quarter of the season and has basically been an extra jersey on anyone on the opposing team holding the ball.
Lawrence has not been alone however, as the entire defense has looked scary this season, with an exception for that last drive against the Ravens.
The Steelers are currently ranked 20th in passing and 1st in rushing yards giving up 226.8 and 62.3 respectively, per game.
Don’t let that 20th ranking fool you though, the Steelers defense has been wreaking havoc on offenses and also ranks 8th in both sacks and interceptions and is ranked 1st in the AFC in turnovers.
I feel sorry for anyone having to go against the Steelers after a loss, let alone a loss where they were perceived as not being as aggressive.
I expect them to inflict some pain this weekend against the Browns.
Steelers O-Line Has Stepped Up
If you had asked any Steelers fan, or NFL fan for that matter, in the offseason what the Steelers needed to fix, most of them would’ve said the offensive line.
It has been well documented that the Steelers offensive line has been struggling over the past couple years and most worried what would happen to Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch behind it.
When you look at the stats however, Charlie Batch(4) and Dennis Dixon(5) were only sacked for a total of nine times.
Along with protecting the quarterback the Steelers line has been opening up holes in the run game and the Steelers are ranked 8th in the NFL in rushing.
Even with injuries, Willie Colon for the season, Max Starks one game, Trai Essex two games, and starting a rookie at center, players such as Maurkice Pouncey, Jonathan Scott, Doug Legursky and Flozell Adams have stepped in admirably.
Rashard Is Running Wild
Without Ben Roethlisberger everyone knew that the Steelers would have to win with defense and by running the football.
Well that is exactly what they did.
I’ve already gone over how good the defense has been this season and Rashard Mendenhall has basically carried the Steelers offense.
Mendenhall has four touchdowns in four games and was second in the league in rushing with 411 yards before the bye week(seventh after the bye).
All of this was with every team knowing that we had to run the ball and with Ben bringing back an assemblence of a passing game, Rashard will have even more holes to run through.
BIG BEN IS BACK!!!!!
Just in case anyone has not heard, Ben Roethlisberger has returned and has been practicing with the team over the bye week.
Other than the one game against the Buccaneers, the Steelers passing attack has been abysmal and the Steelers actually rank dead last in passing in the NFL.
Now teams are going to have to account for more than just our run game when trying to stop the Steelers offense.
Look for Ben to find Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and anyone wearing a Steelers uniform on offense in his return.
Ben will be more focused than ever coming off of his suspension(which I thought was way to severe) and will be ready this weekend to torch the Browns secondary.
Perfectly Timed Bye Week
No one thought that the Steelers would do anything without Ben Roethlisberger and everyone predicted that they probably would be lucky to be 2-2 when they hit their bye week.
When the schedule came out and I saw that the Steelers bye week was in week five I pretty much knew that Ben’s suspension was going to get reduced to at least four games.
This enabled Ben to come back and get acclimated with the offense and receivers again without having the pressure of a game as soon as he returned.
Even though my life pretty much stops when the Steelers are on a bye, I was happy that Ben and the Steelers had a chance to get everything together this week in preparation for the Browns.
Also the defense got a well deserved rest and players like Chris Hoke, who was injured, got an extra week to heal up.
Even with all the Browns struggles this season, the Steelers are not going to step off the gas or take them lightly.
The Steelers know better than any team that you do not win games in the NFL just by showing up(See five game losing streak in 2009).
The fact that this is a divisional matchup makes this game just that much more important, especially for the Steelers.
Currently, every team in the AFC North has a divisional win, except for the Steelers who sit at 0-1, losing to the Ravens in their only division matchup.
The Steelers cannot afford to lose a second straight game, especially within the division and I expect them to get the win.
Browns Just Not There Yet
The Browns are 1-4 through the first five games this season, however they have had a chance to win each one of their games and could easily have a much better record.
In fact, the Browns have held a lead in the second half of every one of their games and just have not been able to close them out.
The Browns have a lot of nice pieces in place at the moment and could develop into a good team, but I don’t think that will be this year, and definitely not in this game.
Yes they beat the Steelers last season when no one thought they would and normally I would never say a game is a lock however I think this game is just set up badly for the Browns.
The Steelers have had the Browns number over the past several years to begin with, then you take into account how well both the defense and running game are doing right now, and now throw in the fact that this is going to be Ben’s first game of the season.
All of this spells a loss for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.