On Sunday, the Browns will head to Heinz Field, where they haven’t won since a 33-13 victory in 2003. However, the Browns will come into Pittsburgh on their first four-game win streak since the last four games of 2009. Pittsburgh is 4-0 for the first time since 1979, but the four teams that Pittsburgh has beaten have a combined record of 3-15-1, so there are still questions to be answered about the team’s true talent.
Last season, the games between the Browns and Steelers had a lot of tension. In the first matchup, the Browns defense dominated. It led to a 21-7 victory, but the storylines were dominated by the DE Myles Garrett-QB Mason Rudolph helmet incident. In the second matchup, with Garrett suspended, the Browns jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Steelers came back and won, 20-13.
The Browns will have to be better offensively in the second half than they were last week if they are to have any chance to win. The offense was practically non-existent in the second half, with nine of the 12 points being scored by the defense. They have struggled to close out games, allowing Cincinnati to get an onside kick, allowing Dallas to come from being down 27 to just being down three and the aforementioned Colts game last week. The Steelers struggled to put away the Eagles last week, allowing them to close a 17-point gap down to a two-point gap, before scoring a touchdown late to put the game away.
There are questions about both team’s quarterbacks, as QB Baker Mayfield had an x-ray regarding the rib injury he picked up in the fourth quarter last Sunday. The x-rays came back negative, but the injury could affect him in some way. On the Pittsburgh side of the ball, QB Ben Roethlisberger will look to show that he is fully healthy from the injury that led to him missing nearly the entire 2019 season.
The game features a great battle between Defensive Player of the Year favorites with Garrett, who leads the AFC with six sacks, and LB T.J. Watt who also ranks in the top-five among the sack leaders, with four and a half. Both players will look to make big plays and with the game looking to be a defensive showcase, they will be the impact players for the game.
This game will have a major impact on the AFC North standings as both teams could come out of the game with the lead in the division. This is arguably the biggest Browns-Steelers game since 2007, which was a 31-28 Steelers victory.