The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for the Cleveland Browns in Week 11 of the 2019 regular season. Entering the game with a 5-4 record, the Steelers prepare to travel to Cleveland on Thursday Night Football.
Since this is a familiar matchup for the Steelers, playing an AFC North rival, many fans might think they know everything there is about this matchup. But there are some names and faces in this grudge match.
So, I wanted to get a lowdown on what the Browns might have in store for the Steelers by talking with Dawgs By Nature, SB Nation’s Browns website, editor Chris Pokorney to pick his brain on the upcoming matchup.
In this second of many installments, I asked Chris what he thinks the Browns will do when they are on defense and trying to stop the Steelers’ offense. Check out his response:
The Browns’ defense runs a 4-2-5 as their base defense most of the time, although they’ve slowly been showing a few signs of using three linebackers again. I wish I could give a concrete answer about the Browns’ defense, but I really can’t. On paper, they are supposed to rely on their big pass rusher in Myles Garrett to generate pressure, and then their young cornerbacks (Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams) to challenge quarterbacks. Those guys are best in man-to-man coverage, but the defense often calls for them to be in zone coverage. In addition, the two linebackers (Joe Schobert and Mack Wilson) have been average at best, if I want to be kind. Cleveland’s defense seldom wins the battle in the trenches, when a team needs that tough yard or two for a first down or at the goal line. Garrett remains the No. 1 player to watch out for. He may not be a force for long stretches, but then out of no where, he will beat his man and force a sack or nearly force a fumble on an unsuspecting quarterback. He hit Josh Allen of the Bills twice last week, and Allen somehow got his arm to come forward for a rather fortunate incomplete pass instead of a fumble.
This game has all the looks of a game where the true matchup is the Browns’ offense vs. the Steelers defense, but the other side of that coin still has plenty of intrigue.
Mason Rudolph now captains the Steelers’ offense, and this unit has been anything but consistent all season, even when Ben Roethlisberger was under center the first game and a half of the year. The team gets James Conner back, and his return couldn’t come at a better time.
I look for the Steelers to try and run the ball early and often to ease some of the pressure off Rudolph on a short week. However, let’s not suggest the team doesn’t need to throw the football to win, because they will. Can Rudolph deliver when it matters most? The red-zone? The team has struggled mightily in this area in 2019, and the quarterback will have to be better for this team to win their 5th straight and advance their record to 6-4 heading into a nice weekend off.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to keep tabs on BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Browns in Week 11.