The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night football. The Steelers are coming off of a 35-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday and will look to improve their record in the AFC North against the 4-8 Browns.
The Browns have had their share of disappointments this year but the one shining glimmer of hope has been Colt McCoy. McCoy has given Cleveland a quarterback they can actually build something around in the future. So far this year he has 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions and should give the Steelers defense a test.
Here are the keys to the matchup.
Third Down Efficiency - The Steelers have to improve on third down efficiency as over the last two games they've converted just five of 21 attempts against the Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs.
Run The Ball - The Steelers for the first time this year should alter the pass happy offense and try to exploit the opponent with a solid ground game. The Browns are 31st in the NFL against the run and No.2 against the pass, therefore the Steelers should give Rashard Mendenhall at least 25 carries in this one. Also it could give Ben Roethlisberger a chance to rest that sore thumb.
Offensive Start – Last week it seemed the Steelers offense started the game flat and out of sync. It took that Cameron Heyward field goal block to inspire them to move down the field. They have to make their first drive count as they have been so good at doing this year. Continuity will be the name of the game tonight against the Browns and starting off on the right foot will do them wonders.
Pressure McCoy – The Browns run a west coast style offense and the best way to exploit that is to make the quarterback sweat. Look for the Browns to run a lot of short drops and quick routes to challenge the Steelers cornerbacks. We'll see if James Harrison will continue his path of destruction as he did last week against the Bengals with three sacks.
Turnovers - The Steelers over the last few games have done great in forcing turnovers both on special teams and on defense. This is the key to getting a lead and aiding the defense. Over the first ten games the Steelers struggled to get lucky finding turnovers, but of late they've come in bunches. Tonight will be a good opportunity for the Steelers to force the Browns into mistakes and turn them into points as they did against the Bengals last week.
Injury Free – Currently at this juncture in the season injuries have to be avoided. Look at the Chicago Bears, they were riding high and now have lost Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. The Steelers have to prevent this type of situation to unfold here, but it could happen. Remember in 2007 when the Steelers lost Aaron Smith in December and it had a major effect on the Steelers getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs that year. Although sometimes injuries happen randomly the Steelers have to keep themselves healthy and fresh for life after the regular season. Mike Tomlin has to have this in the back of his head as well. When you get a lead protect your China Dolls as Chuck Noll once said.
Special Teams - The special teams were extra special last week and may need to do so against the Browns on Thursday night. With two of the top ten defenses battling tonight this could be a game that comes down to the field goal kickers. Shaun Suisham has been solid of late and has to continue that pace with the Browns tonight and be ready for the pressure of the playoffs.
Related VideosReturning Soon!!!!
No related posts.
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/6x6