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Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - Official Game Thread

Can the Cleveland Browns defeat their hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to restore some life to the 2009-2010 season?

Date: October 18, 2009 Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Stadium: Heinz Field
Favorite: Steelers by 14
Radio: WTAM, 1100 AM Over/Under: 38
SBN Coverage: Behind the Steel Curtain Announcers Kevin Harlan,
Solomon Wilcots

Is this what can define a head coach in the city of Cleveland? Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel were plagued by their inability to beat the Steelers; heck, even Chris Palmer had a better track record than them. Now, it's Eric Mangini's time. The Browns have already lost to the Ravens and the Bengals. A loss to the Steelers would complete the clean sweep, but in a negative way.

What would a win do? Believe it or not, it throws the Browns back into the contention mix slightly, even though I should probably be restricted from even talking about contention given our start to the season. A victory over the Steelers, coupled with a Ravens loss to the Vikings today, would put the Browns just one game back of second place in the division prior to the half-way point of the season.

Let's start off this week's preview with the overall team statistics heading into Week 6...


Category Browns Steelers
Points Scored 11.0 (30th) 22.6 (14th)
Passing 142.2 (31st) 275.4 (4th)
Rushing 106.2 (16th) 100.4 (21st)
Total Offense (yards) 248.4 (31st) 375.8 (7th)


Category Browns Steelers
Points Scored 24.2 (23rd) 19.6 (15th)
Passing 209.8 (10th) 219.6 (14th)
Rushing 170.4 (32nd) 71.2 (2nd)
Total Defense (yards) 380.2 (29th) 290.8 (4th)

Derek Anderson has one career start at Heinz Field. On that day, he threw three touchdowns and no picks in defeat, thanks to good field position set up by Joshua Cribbs.
QB - The Browns' defense struggles against quarterbacks with a high completion percentage. Ben Roethlisberger enters this game completing 73.8% of his passes.
If the Browns think for a second they can rely on the same gameplan they did a week ago against Buffalo, then they are mistaken. The key at RB today should be finding Harrison on quick passes.
RB - Forget fearing "fast Willie Parker". Rashard Mendenhall has had an impressive sophomore start for the Steelers.
Last week, the Browns' receivers looked lost with the number of dropped passes on display. Hopefully the chemistry between Stuckey and Anderson has grown so the offense can add another threat this week.
WR - The Steelers are very comfortable with their usual trio of Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Heath Miller. Newcomer Mike Wallace has added another deep threat to the Steelers' arsenal. Our corners will have to stay honest when Roethlisberger buys time.
The Browns' rushing attack has improved immensely the past two weeks. This is where Alex Mack's practice against Shaun Rogers should come in use against Casey Hampton.
OL -
The thing to watch this week? Can one of our big linemen actually bring Roethlisberger down. I'll be sick if victory is within reach for the Browns, and I have to see Roethlisberger escape another would-be sack for a game-changing play.
DL - The loss of Aaron Smith adds to the "down" season the Steelers' defense is having. With that said, I don't think a struggling offense like the Browns' will be able to capitalize on that.
I expect all of our linebackers to start, but D'Qwell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley might not be at 100%. If the Steelers get in a rhythm on the ground, we might need to see Veikune.
LB - James Harrison has six sacks this year, and the Browns will have to find a way to block him. If Joe Thomas is occupied, our tight ends are lacking with Royal's finger injury and Heiden being out.
Roethlisberger buys a lot of time rolling around behind the line of scrimmage. That requires a good nickel back, and I don't see Hank Poteat being able to keep up with whoever Pittsburgh decides to line up against him.

DB - Welcome back, Troy Polamalu. If Polamalu even plays anywhere close to the level he did in Week 1 against the Titans before getting injured, then look out. He instantly improves all three defensive units on the Steelers.
It doesn't make much sense to trade Cribbs. Why trade a player who is already a critical piece to the puzzle and an exceptional team player?
- ST It's tough to kick in Pittsburgh, but between Billy Cundiff and Jeff Reed, you have to give the edge to Reed.

I rushed the preview above a little bit because my regular Internet has not been working; I'm throwing this up via my mobile phone. I'll try to comment during the game through the phone, but if I can't, you'll know why not. The Browns played good defensively last week, but it came against a Bills team with no threat at quarterback. I think our defense will get off to a slow start. Our offense will fight back like the Lions did last week, but Pittsburgh will be able to put it away late.

FINAL PREDICTION: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Cleveland Browns 17.

This is the official gameday thread for the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 as they take on the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. All comments regarding the game should be posted in this topic. Enjoy the game, and GO BROWNS!!!