About the Opponent:
The one apparent constant with regard to the Cleveland Browns organization is change. Hue Jackson was hired in January to be Cleveland's new head coach and 9th since 1999.
Changes to the roster are also prevalent this offseason, as the Browns either lost or chose not to re-sign 15 players who were with the team last year. Some include safety Donte Whitner, center Alex Mack, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, and quarterback Johnny Manziel.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Browns now have six starters that need replacing, and some of the players they lost were among their more valuable ones: "Mitchell Schwartz was PFF's highest-graded RT in 2015, Alex Mack has been to multiple Pro Bowls, Tashaun Gipson has 14 career interceptions with 13 of those coming in the past three seasons, and Travis Benjamin was Cleveland's top WR in 2015."
As usual, the Browns have turned to the draft to try and find new talent. They made wide receiver a priority, drafting Corey Coleman 15th overall from Baylor. They also added receivers Ricardo Lewis from Auburn, Seth DeValve from Princeton, and Jordan Payton from UCLA.
The Browns also seemingly went back to fundamentals by selecting defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah from Oklahoma and Carl Nassib from Penn State. They also took offensive tackle Shon Coleman from Auburn in round three and outside linebacker Joe Schobert from Wisconsin in round four.
Cleveland's big signing in free agency was quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Browns are hoping that Griffin can resurrect his career after injuries and ineffective play paved the way for Kirk Cousins to grab the starting job. Word out of Cleveland is that Griffin is definitely the front runner to become the starter this season out of a field that includes Josh McCown, rookie Cody Kessler, and Austin Davis.
The Bottom Line:
The Steelers are 29-6 versus the Browns since 1999, an incredible record considering the teams play each other twice every year. Seemingly year in and year out, the Browns are in a state of rebuilding. New head coaches, new quarterbacks, the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, the Steelers are one of the NFL's most stable and consistent franchises. Given the Steelers talent level this year, it's difficult to imagine anything but another season sweep. Of course, nothing is a given in the NFL. The Steelers mustn't take the Browns for granted or an upset could happen.