Browns With A Chance To Ambush Steelers Week 1

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The Browns will open up the 2014 season in Pittsburgh against the execrated Steelers. I like starting the season against the Steelers. Neither team will have momentum going one way or the other coming into the game. Neither team has really had time to play themselves into their identity yet. I believe it gives the Browns an advantage they otherwise wouldn’t have unless it was the season opener. The element of miscalculation could allow our Browns to ambush the enemy with weapons and schemes they are unaware of.

Mike Pettine has a huge opportunity in front of him. He should be preparing for this game as if his career relies on it. Going into Pittsburgh and winning in his first career game would make him an instant legend.  He has to take advantage of the weapons he has.

Pittsburgh has an idea of what the Browns defense can do but the 2014 version has a different edge to it. Look for Jim O’Neil’s group to apply pressure to Ben Roethlisberger all day. O’Neil does an excellent job bringing pressure from different angles and disguising his coverages.  The Browns defense has the potential to dominate games and that is a factor that the Steelers won’t be expecting.

The other key to the game for the Browns has to come in the passing game. With newly acquired Ben Tate and the Browns strong offense line, there is a certitude that the Steelers will be lining up with 8 or more in the box right from the start of the game in order to stop the run game. Pettine and OC Kyle Shanahan have to make it a priority to attempt to stretch the field early. There will be plenty of time to run the football but their best chance at opening things up for both aspects of the offense will come right away with a series of pass plays taking the Steelers by surprise.

The Browns have a good chance to shock the NFL world tomorrow for a couple of important reasons. Their nasty, physical defense can create turnovers and change the game. They have the element of surprise in week one because their best stuff isn’t on tape yet. This team will play with a different kind of toughness that the Steelers are not used to, and I am confident that Kyle Shanahan will have an excellent game plan in place. This Browns team has the veteran leadership that it has missed in the past. The presence of Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby will pay immediate dividends for the Browns tomorrow in Pittsburgh.

By; Brad Ward

Follow @CST_BradWard

 

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