Browns vs. Steelers Preview

A rivalry will be renewed today as the Cleveland Browns will head to the Steel City to take on divisional rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams had their ups and downs during the offseason but so far, the Steelers have proven to be one of the NFL’s top teams while the Browns seemed to be finding the right direction to go in.

During the first few games, the Browns tried to get settled in at quarterback but will have to change that direction once again. With injuries to Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme, rookie Colt McCoy will get the nod today at starting  quarterback. The Browns initially wanted McCoy to hold a clipboard this season and not play, however, with injuries to Wallace and Delhomme, the team did not have many options to work with.

McCoy played against some of the toughest teams in college, however, playing against Pittsburgh’s defense to begin your NFL career will not be easy. McCoy will need to find ways to throw downfield and away from Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu is expected to play and is dangerous against inexperienced quarterbacks and bad throws. McCoy will need to get passes off quickly and rely on shorter routes from receivers as well. McCoy will also need to pick up safety blitzes as well or else Polamalu will be ripping off his face and wearing it on Halloween (line from the movie “Little Giants”).

In the Browns backfield, Peyton Hillis is expected to play and the Browns will need to rely on him and Josh Cribbs in the wildcat formation to help move the offense down the field. Hillis has proven to be reliable and a sturdy running back for the Browns and they will need him to get as many yards as possible to wear down the Steelers defensive line. With inexperience at quarterback, the Browns will need to utilize Cribbs in the wildcat more this week and have a reason to do so. Cribbs destroyed the Steelers in that formation the last time these two teams played and when used effectively, can fool a lot of defenses.

Looking at the Steelers offense, Ben Roethlisberger is back and despite not being active for the first few games due to a suspension, he will probably be sharp out there. Roethlisberger  manages to work well with the receivers he has and will be testing the Browns young secondary early on. The Steelers will be going deep early on to test TJ Ward, Joe Haden and Eric Wright and the Browns will need to be ready for passes deep down the field.

The Steelers have owned the rivalry between these two teams since 1999 but last season’s game at Cleveland Browns stadium proved anything is possible. The Browns were underdogs in that game last year and many NFL insiders and the Steelers understand the Browns have done a lot to improve since last season. It’s still early on and the Browns have kept their games close this season.

The rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers will be renewed today and with the different factors involved, it could turn out to be a classic matchup between the two teams.

 

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~ by jeffrsabo on October 17, 2010.

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