Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Browns' Keys to the Game

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Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Browns' Keys to the Game
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Week 14 of the NFL Season is a short rest for the Cleveland Browns, who play their first night game of the season this Thursday in an AFC North showdown with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers

And they'll have to do it on a mere four days' rest.

Sad but true, in perhaps the meanest back-to-back matchups ever foisted on a team by the schedule-makers, the Browns were forced to square off against AFC North heavyweights the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and then got stuck flying to Pittsburgh to face another daunting division foe in the Steelers the following Thursday.

If there were ever a recipe for disaster, this might be it. 

So it is on that happy note then that the Browns—down, out and discouraged—have to scramble around on short rest this week to come up with a plan that will allow them to have a snowball's chance in Pittsburgh beating the hated Steelers.

Or at the very least, to play a solid, close game against them. 

It will be one of the uglier challenges the Browns are presented with this season, possibly trumped only by the final two weeks of 2011, when the Browns get the Ravens and the Steelers back to back again to close out the year.

If we—the Cleveland faithful—didn't already know the football gods hated us, the schedule the Browns were given for the last six weeks of 2011 sure hammered the point home. 

But enough whining: We've still got four weeks' of football left to play. It's tough to define keys to victory for the Browns this week, as the chances of a win are very, very slim.

Obviously upsets are always possible, but it's probably more realistic to look at this game in terms of what the Browns can do to keep the score close, win back some confidence from the fans and show the Steelers that the Browns are a team they're going to need to look out for in the very near future. 

Following are five keys to the game for the Browns as they prepare to venture into the enemy territory of Steeler Nation this Thursday night. 

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