April 15, 2024

Browns vs. Steelers, Monday Night Football, prime time, that’s why I’m watching. Pittsburgh hosts the Browns Monday night at 8:15 pm EST in Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers are 30-10-1 all-time on Monday Night Football at home. They are currently on a twenty-game winning streak in this prime-time game. Last week the Browns beat the Bengals 24-3 and the Steelers lost to the 49ers 30-7. What am I watching this week?

Browns Offense Vs. Steelers Defense. According to Adam Schefter, wide receiver Amari Cooper will not play Monday night. The Browns offense struggled in the first half against the Bengals last week, but most of that was due to the weather. Quarterback Deshaun Watson did enough to win the game but needs to have better recognition this week. He missed a few opportunities and open wide receivers in the first half last week. The offense needs to continue to use play action and RPO to freeze the Steelers’ linebackers. Wide receiver Elijah Moore is the perfect weapon to use against this defense. Line him up everywhere on the field. The biggest reason for concern for the offense is the starting offensive tackles. Rookie right tackle Dawand Jones gets the daunting task of blocking linebacker T.J. Watt and left tackle Jedrick Wills was pedestrian at best against the Bengals DE Trey Henderickson. To beat the pass rush, the Browns need to run Nick Chubb, who has 653 yards on 141 carries (4.63 average) and three touchdowns in nine games against the Steelers. San Fransico running back Christain McCaffery had 152 yards on 22 carries against the Steeler defense with a lot of his yardage behind the guards and center, the strength of the Browns offensive line.

Browns Defense Vs. the Steelers Offense. The Browns defense dominated Cincinnati because of the pressure from the defensive line and the blanket coverage of the secondary. Against San Francisco, the Steelers first four drives ended with a sack, interception, incompletion and a sack. The 49ers on those four corresponding drives had a touchdown, field goal, touchdown and a field goal. Pittsburgh then scores a touchdown before the half and the 49ers get the ball first in the second half and the first play is a 65-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffery. I fully expect the Steelers to move quarterback Kenny Pickett around in the pocket and to use screen passes to escape the pressure. The Browns linebackers and safeties will have to contain to allow the defensive linemen to apply the pressure. The Steelers offensive line is average at best. In the Browns secondary, they need to keep up the man-to-man coverage and make sure they cover tight end Pat Freiermuth.

For the Browns to win this game, they need to be patient and consistent on offense. On defense, they have to keep the pressure on Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. I expect the Steelers to add a few offensive wrinkles to slow down the Browns defense, but I also expect Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will show Pickett some things he’s never seen before.

 

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