TV: CBS (map)
Radio: WDVE and other affiliates
The 2014 season is here. If you want to totally overdose on Steelers coverage, read my 4000-word season preview.
What To Watch For
1. Picking Up Where We Left Off
The Steelers ended the 2013 season on a 6-2 tear where the offense averaged over 27 points per game. We wrapped up the 2013 season with a demolishing of the Cleveland Browns that lead to basically everyone getting fired. Now, the Browns have a new front office, new head coach and new quarterback(s), but we need to pick up right where we left off. Beat the Browns. Don't let them hang around in the game. Tear them to shreds. Run the No Huddle. Put the ball in Ben's hands. Get after whoever is under center. Stop the run. Whatever it takes. Win.
2. Cleveland Sucks
Cleveland generally sucks. But they really really suck in season openers. The folks at SBNation put together this graphic to show just how bad Cleveland Sucks:
3. Antonio Brown vs Joe Haden
Joe Haden is supposedly one of the best corners in the league. He has made a habit out of shutting down other receivers in the AFC North such as AJ Green and Torrey Smith. However, Antonio Brown has routinely torched Haden. Last season, Haden was lauded for not giving up a touchdown all season before Antonio Brown burned him so bad it took an entire aloe plant to soothe the scorch marks. Brown is the centerpiece of the Steelers passing game and they will need him to be able to get open against Haden in order for the offense to move the ball.
4. Stop the Run
The Browns have no wide receivers. With the suspension of Josh Gordon, Brian Hoyer and/or Johnny Manziel will be throwing to the remnants of Miles Austin and some other guys they found on the scrap heap. The Browns invested heavily in the running game after trading away Trent Richardson last year. They signed Ben Tate in free agency and drafted Terrence West and Isaiah Crowell. The Browns have a decent offensive line and the Steelers main focus should be stopping the run. If the Steelers can force Brian Hoyer or Manziel to win this game through the air, things will set up very well for our revamped defense. Do not expect much out of Jarvis Jones going up against Joe Thomas, who is one of the best tackles in the league, but Jason Worilds has had success against whoever the Browns throw out at right tackle.
5. Johnny Manziel
The Steelers have said since May that he was going to play the opener. The Browns will start Brian Hoyer but will they stick with him for the whole game? Will Manziel have a package of plays that he is capable of running? If you heard Merril Hoge on the DVE Morning Show this week, you'll know that he doesn't think Manziel is capable of doing anything on the field at this point in time. But the Browns are the Browns. The Steelers need to keep an eye out if Manziel is in there and not let him make an impact on the game with his feet. Forcing Manziel to throw the ball is probably the best possible scenario for the defense.
Here we go