Come and Look At Both of Our Buildings
The Steelers are rooted in a winning tradition that hasn't seen many seasons end with a meaningless Week 17 game. It's not an impressive team top to bottom, but it has shown flashes of being an outstanding group that can play with anyone. Its defense, for all its maladies earlier in the year in particular, has continued to morph and evolve into one of the best in the NFL. Offensively, the team is struggling and has been for a few games now, but the Steelers defense alone is good enough to win this game.
Who Knows, You Might Even See This Guy
Something called "Thad Lewis" is starting under center for the Browns.
Thad, meet Mr. Polamalu. He is going to make your life a living hell today. He's going to confuse you. He's going to attack you. He's going to make you turn the ball over.
Expect the unexpected with Polamalu today, as he looked like his old self against Cincinnati last week. The game will mean something to him, considering he hasn't been healthy all year - right until the bitter end. Polamalu made a few of his trademarked circus style plays last week, and considering the lack of firepower on the Browns offensive side of the ball, Polamalu will likely take a few risks in trying to make a big play, and will probably succeed.
Watch The Poor People All Wait For Buses
Pat Shurmur and his entire coaching staff and general manager Tom Heckert can expect to be released not long after this game. Shurmur, who's 9-22 heading into today's game. He's the face of the Mike Holmgren Project in Cleveland - a project that used to bring such a high sense of optimism in Cleveland, and ends the same way many of the other projects aimed at bringing the Browns out of their perpetual funk do. Complete failure, transition to the next idea, and probably more baseless optimism.
This Train Is Carrying Jobs Out of Cleveland
With the wholesale change at the management level within the Browns, the players shouldn't feel they're immune either. They're playing for jobs they may not even get the chance to compete for. With new coaches and new management comes in their people. Many of those people who not be the Greg Littles and the Tashaun Gipsons, but the team is asking them to go out and compete against a superior opponent today. Not the easiest of circumstances there.
Cleveland Leads the Nation in Drifters
The hodge-podge feel of the Browns roster heading into this game is really damming for their chances. Montario Hardesty will get the start at running back against a motivated defense aiming at becoming the first team since the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles to lead the league in rushing and passing defense. He's doing that with Lewis under center. Lewis's best weapon is the fact no one has seen him play, and presumably would struggle to pick him out of a lineup. The Browns didn't have receivers of note to begin with, but the in-flux state of this offense will be an intriguing factor in this game.