COMMENTARY | The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be in for a real surprise on November 24.
The Steelers are likely going to enter their matchup with the Cleveland Browns on that day with plenty of confidence, and with good reason. Pittsburgh has won two straight games to creep back into the AFC wild-card hunt, and Cleveland is a team that they have dominated over the past 14 years. While that's all well and good for the Steelers, I'm of the opinion that they won't leave FirstEnergy Stadium victorious in Week 12, and these are four reasons why:
Pittsburgh's Offensive Line Can't Keep Up With Cleveland's Front Seven
The Steelers running game has been abysmal in 2013, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on the year. Against a Browns run defense that is allowing only 3.5 yards per carry this season, it's safe to assume that Pittsburgh will struggle on the ground once again.
Adding to Pittsburgh's problems will be a Cleveland defense that has already racked up 31 sacks this fall. Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could be getting helped off the ground quite a bit this weekend playing behind a Pittsburgh offensive line that has already allowed 37 sacks on the year.
Cleveland's Turnover Problems In Week 11 Were An Aberration
Cleveland's four turnovers and two blocked punts basically handed the Cincinnati Bengals a 41-20 victory in Week 11. History is not likely going to repeat itself against the Steelers.
Heading into the Cincinnati game, Cleveland had only five turnovers in their previous six games. Facing a Pittsburgh defense that has only 10 takeaways this season, there's no reason to believe that Cleveland is going to be so careless with the football for a second straight week.
Pittsburgh Stinks Away From Home
In five games away from Heinz Field in 2013, Pittsburgh has only managed to win one of them. The Steelers defeated the New York Jets -- who have been all over the map this season -- by a score of 19-6 in Week 6.
Playing in a environment that promises to be one of the toughest they will endure in 2013, a Pittsburgh team that has already lost to the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders away from home this season could struggle mightily. The crowd at FirstEnergy Stadium could play a big part in a Browns victory.
The Browns Should Finally Have Some Success Running The Football
Cleveland's ground game has not been a strength in 2013. The Browns are averaging just 83.6 rushing yards per game on the year, and their 126 yards on the ground against the Detroit Lions in Week 6 is their season high for a game. That number could be eclipsed against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh is allowing 125.2 yards per game on the ground, which ranks them in the bottom 10 in the NFL in that category. With the Browns utilizing Chris Ogbonnaya and his gaudy 6.3 yards per carry more often of late, that could spell doom for the Steeler defense. If Ogbonnaya can get going, that will open up play-action for Jason Campbell, which means we could see a trademark long Josh Gordon touchdown as the Browns roll to a victory over the Steelers.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- The Browns