Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Preview
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Preview! This is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, provides a game outlook, score prediction, individual stats, team stats, Fantasy Football impact, the most up-to-date injury report, and even the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!
A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Overall Record: 0-0
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (11th Season with Steelers)
Overall Regular Season Record: 103-57 (.644)
Playoff Record: 8-6 (Qualified for playoffs 7 times)
Last Game: N/A
Breakdown of the Steelers
Quarterback- Ben Roethlisberger leads a power offense that can beat you via the ground or the air. Big Ben has been outstanding at home but has struggled to put up the same numbers on the road the past few seasons.
Running Backs- Le’Veon Bell is the best all-around back in the NFL, with much respect to David Johnson. Bell can kill you on the ground with his speed and elusiveness. He is patient, often delaying a second to find the hole to burst through. Bell is also dangerous out of the backfield as a pass catcher. James Conner will spell Bell from time to time.
Wide Receivers- Antonio Brown is considered one of the best receivers in the game. You can count on five catches for at least 50 yards every week at a minimum. This wideout group is extremely deep and talented. Martavis Bryant is back from suspension and is a deep threat on every play with his size and speed. Eli Rogers is excellent from the slot. Justin Hunter has superior speed and is also a deep threat. Rookie Juju Schuster-Smith is looking to make his mark in the NFL in his first season. Darrius Heyward-Bey is mainly used on special teams but is a reliable player when called upon in the passing game.
Tight Ends- Jesse James is the starter and has improved every year, but Vance McDonald is a big target that can make splash plays for Roethlisberger across the middle and inside the redzone. Xavier Grimble is also a nice target for Ben inside the 10-yard line.
Defense- The Steelers defense is primed for an awakening in 2017. At defensive line, it’s Cam Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt. Daniel McCullers will rotate with Hargrave.
At linebacker, rookie TJ Watt starts at OLB, with Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams in the middle. Bud Dupree stands opposite of Watt. Both can get at the quarterback and disrupt the opposing team’s passing game. Shazier is a stud in the middle and his speed makes him a nightmare for any QB who makes a mistake across the middle. Don’t count out James Harrison, who will rotate in to spell Watt or Dupree.
The secondary has been revamped with the addition of Joe Haden at corner. He won’t have to guard the opposing team’s #1 wide receiver on every down, as that job falls to Artie Burns. Mike Mitchell lines up at free safety, with JJ Wilcox backing him up if injured. Sean Davis is getting better by the game at strong safety. Mike Hilton and Will Gay will be in at slot corner positions when called upon.
A look at the Cleveland Browns!
Overall Record: 0-0
Head Coach: Hue Jackson (3rd Season with Browns)
Overall Regular Season Record: 9-23 (.281)
Playoff Record: 0-0 (Qualified for playoffs 0 times)
Last Week: N/A
Breakdown of the Browns
Quarterback- DeShone Kizer may finally be the answer the Browns have been searching for at quarterback since Vanilla Ice was relevant.
Running Backs- Isaiah Crowell is a solid runner that picks up chunks of yards when given the green light. Duke Johnson is utilized on passing downs and is very dangerous out of the backfield with the ball. Steelers linebackers will need to keep an eye on him for screens.
Wide Receivers- Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt give the Browns a nice combo at wide receiver. Now DeShone Kizer just needs to get the ball to them.
Tight Ends- The Browns surprisingly got rid of their best tight end in Gary Barnidge, and are left with Randall Telfer and David Njoku.
Defense- Not a bad group, but they will have their work cut out for them, especially with 1st round pick Myles Garrett injured.
On one side sits a rookie quarterback, eager to make his NFL debut.
On the other sits a two-time Super Bowl Champion in Ben Roethlisberger.
He is very good above the neck,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday on a conference call. “He knows what’s required to be prepared. He aids the growth and development of those around him. He does all of the things that you would expect a guy at his position to do, and he does it very naturally and does it very well.”
Roethlisberger has tortured the Browns throughout his career. He is 20-2 vs the Browns overall… 10-1 playing in Cleveland.
DeShone Kizer may finally be the answer at QB for the Browns, but he knows he has an uphill task facing the likes of Pittsburgh in his first real game.
The Steelers will be coming for him at every chance they get, perhaps dropping back a few guys every now and then to keep the rookie QB as uncomfortable and confused as they can make him.
Corner Joe Haden, released by the Browns a week ago, will be pumped to show Cleveland they made a mistake in giving up on him. Haden won’t have to focus on covering the opposing team’s best receiver each week, as that job falls to Artie Burns, who is ready to have a breakout season. 1st round pick TJ Watt is eager to be set loose on the enemy QB’s, and on the opposite side, Bud Dupree is ready to show what he can accomplish playing a full season.
The Steelers offense is loaded in front of Roethlisberger. With arguably the league’s best wide receiver in Antonio Brown and the best running back in Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh is already scary. Add in the likes of Martavis Bryant on the other side of Brown, with Eli Rogers in the slot, and Justin Hunter as another deep threat, the Steelers offense is primed to be one of the highest scoring teams in the league.
If the challenge wasn’t daunting enough for the Cleveland defense, they will be missing the services of 1st round pick Myles Garrett.
Garrett will have to wait for the next meeting to take down Roethlisberger, as he stated when drafted.
“Big Ben is a Super Bowl winner and I heard he’s hard to take down,” Garrett said then. “So, I’m coming for him first, chop him down.”
Better luck next time.
The Browns ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed last season, 30th in points allowed (28.2 per game). They were tied for 30th with 26 total sacks.
Cleveland is hoping an infusion of young talent like Garrett (eventually) and Jabrill Peppers will trend their fortunes upward.
“They put a lot in it, they got a lot of young guys,” Roethlisberger said of the Browns’ defense. “They obviously invested a lot in this team in general. We’re going to be aware where their pass rushers are as well as secondary guys too. It’s a very good def. We’re going to have our hands full.”
Expect the Steelers to utilize well-balanced offense, keeping the Browns guessing all game. Le’Veon Bell will get the majority of the touches, but don’t be surprised to see James Conner get a few snaps to spell Bell and give him a breather, as he sat out Training Camp until last week.
With a fully healthy offense, it’s time for Roethlisberger’s road struggles to end. The Patriots dropped their opener last night, so the Steelers have a chance to gain the inside track on having the coveted Home Field Advantage throughout the playoffs.
With a victory, Roethlisberger will have more wins at First Energy Stadium than any other Browns QB.
The Steelers will continue their mastery over Cleveland yet again.
Prediction: Steelers 38 Browns 13
Fantasy Football Impact
Start: QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, WR Martavis Bryant, RB Le’Veon Bell, Steelers D
Sleeper: TE Vance McDonald
Start: RB Isaiah Crowell
Sleeper: WR Kenny Britt
NFL Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Game-time: Sunday, September 10th, 1:00 pm
TV: CBS (Local KDKA) | Announcers: Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) Trent Green | Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) | Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: Westwood One | Announcers: John Sadak (play-by-play) Ben Leber (analyst)
Weather at Kickoff: 69 and sunny.
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -10
- Series History: Series began in 1950.
- The Steelers are 70-58 in the overall Regular Season series against the Browns.
- Steelers trail the series playing at Cleveland 21-37.
- Streak: Steelers won previous four meetings.
- Last Regular Season Meeting: Jan. 1, 2017 in Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 27 Cleveland 24 (OT)
- Steelers are 2-0 in the Post-Season vs the Browns.
- Last Post-Season Meeting: Jan. 5, 2003 in Pittsburgh, AFC Wild Card Game: Pittsburgh 36 Cleveland 33 (OT)
- Steelers CB Joe Haden entered the NFL as a ﬁ rst-round (seventh overall) draft selection of the Browns in 2010 and spent his ﬁrst seven seasons in the NFL with Cleveland, earning two Pro Bowl selections following the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
- Cleveland WR Sammie Coates spent his ﬁrst two years in the NFL with the Steelers after being selected by Pittsburgh in the third-round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
- With a win, Pittsburgh would improve to 11-6 against Cleveland in the month of September (5-5 on the road). • Pittsburgh aims to improve to 5-2 against Cleveland in Kickoﬀ Weekend games.
- Ben Roethlisberger Is one 300-yard passing game from notching 50 in his regular-season NFL career.
- Roethlisberger is 36 completions from surpassing Drew Bledsoe (3,839) for ninth in NFL history.
- Antonio Brown needs one touchdown catch to tie Lynn Swann (51) for the third-most touchdown grabs in team history.
- Le’Veon Bell aims for his eighth consecutive game with 100 yards from scrimmage, dating back to Nov. 13, 2016.
- Bell needs three rushing scores to match Rashard Mendenhall (29) for fifth-most in franchise history
- James Harrison is a half-sack from 80.0 in his career with the Steelers.
- William Gay will break a tie with Rod Woodson to set the record for the most interceptions returned for touchdowns in team history with his next pick six of six.
QB- Ben Roethlisberger (0 yards passing | 0 TD passes | 0 interceptions | 0 sacks)
RB- Le’Veon Bell (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
RB- James Conner (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Antonio Brown (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Martavis Bryant (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Eli Rogers (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Justin Hunter (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Darrius Heyward-Bey (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Juju Schuster-Smith (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Jesse James (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Vance McDonald (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Xavier Grimble (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
K- Chris Boswell (Extra Point: 0-0 | FG: 0-0 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 0-0 | 30-39: 0-0 | 40-49: 0-0 | 50+: 0-0 | Long: N/A)
QB- DeShone Kizer (0 yards passing | 0 TD passes | 0 interceptions | 0 sacks)
RB- Isaiah Crowell (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
RB- Duke Johnson, Jr. (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
FB- Danny Vitale (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Corey Coleman (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Kenny Britt (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Ricardo Lewis (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Sammie Coates (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Randall Telfer (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
K- Zane Gonzalez (Extra Point: 0-0 | FG: 0-0 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 0-0 | 30-39: 0-0 | 40-49: 0-0 | 50+: 0-0 | Long: N/A)
Steelers – Browns: Offensive vs Defensive Comparison
Steelers Offense: Steelers average 0 YPG | Browns allow 0 YPG
Rushing: Steelers average 0 YPG | Browns allow 0 YPG
Passing: Steelers average 0 YPG | Browns allow 0 YPG
Scoring: Steelers average 0 PPG | Browns allow 0 PPG
Steelers Defense: Steelers allow 0 YPG | Browns average 0 YPG
Rushing: Steelers allow 0 YPG | Browns average 0 YPG
Passing: Steelers allow 0 YPG | Browns average 0 YPG
Scoring: Steelers allow 0 PPG | Browns average 0 PPG
Injury Report (9/8/2017)
Out: T Jerald Hawkins (knee)
Questionable: LB Bud Dupree (shoulder)
Out: DE Myles Garrett (Ankle)
Questionable: DL Danny Shelton (Knee)
Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Schedule
Friday, Aug. 11 @ New York Giants W, 20-12 (KDKA)
Sunday, Aug. 20 ATLANTA W, 17-13 (KDKA)
Saturday, Aug. 26 INDIANAPOLIS L, 19-15 (KDKA)
Thursday, Aug. 31 @ Carolina W, 17-14 (KDKA)
REGULAR SEASON (0-0)
Sunday, Sept. 10 @ Cleveland 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 17 MINNESOTA 1 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Sept. 24 @ Chicago 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 1 @ Baltimore 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 8 JACKSONVILLE* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 15 @ Kansas City* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 22 CINCINNATI* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 29 @ Detroit* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Nov. 5 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 12 @ Indianapolis* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Thursday, Nov. 16 TENNESSEE 8:25 p.m. (NBC/ NFL Network/Amazon)
Sunday, Nov. 26 GREEN BAY* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Monday, Dec. 4 @ Cincinnati 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Dec. 10 BALTIMORE* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Dec. 17 NEW ENGLAND* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Dec. 25 @ Houston 4:30 p.m. (NBC/ NFL Network/Amazon)
Sunday, Dec. 31 CLEVELAND* 1 p.m. (CBS)
- Times may change due to ﬂexible scheduling
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 6-7 Wild Card Weekend
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 13-14 Divisional Playoﬀ Games
Sunday, Jan. 21 Conference Championships
Sunday, Jan. 28 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.) Sunday,
Feb. 4 Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis, Minn.)