Two rivals do battle on Sunday night football in week two, as the 1-0 Steelers travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. The Steelers have won 9 straight over Cleveland, and hit the field running last week scoring 38 points and dominating the Texans at home 38-17. The Browns were run over by Tony Romo and the Cowboys 28-10. That score was a bit deceiving as the Browns D allowed 497 yards to Dallas.
So what can the Browns do to break the streak by the Steelers? They have to be as physical as the Steelers, which is not easy to do, and pressure Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Browns went out and got themselves some beef up front in the offseason in Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, and against Dallas they were pretty much held in check. If Roethlisberger gets time to throw, he’ll have success against a weak Browns secondary.
Look for the Steelers to do what they like to do – run the football. Willie Parker is great against the Browns, and has run for at least 100 yards in each of his last three games against Cleveland. He rushed for a career-high 223 yards in a 27-7 win over the Browns in 2006. The Browns have to stop him, and then force pressure on Roethlisberger to get him to make some mistakes.
On offense for Cleveland, they will test the Pittsburgh secondary without Deshea Townesend. Bryant McFadden gets the start, probelm is the Browns are banged up at WR, and it appears that Donte Stallworth will miss his second straight game. That puts more on QB Derek Anderson to force the ball to his big two targets, WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow. Look for Steelers safety Troy Polamalu to shadow Winslow all day.
Jamal Lewis will look for holes in the running game vs the Steelers, and if he can have some success, that will make Anderson and a Browns offense a week ago a lot more dangerous. Josh Cribbs back for Cleveland is a lift, and if he can give them a spark on special teams, and may go a long way in putting the Browns in a much better position to pull off the win.
The Steelers in this 9-game winning streak have won by an average of 15.6 points. They have a lot of momentum after week one, and the Browns are banged up. It’s another Steelers win in week two, and they will top the Browns again by 10-14 points.