Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gameday: Cleveland Browns

America's Toilet
TV: CBS (map)
Radio: WDVE and other affiliates

What To Watch For

1. No Huddle

Of course I'm going to lead with this, after the Steelers defense was completely and utterly useless against the Browns up-tempo no huddle offense in the season opener. The Browns would be idiots not to come out and run this offense the entire game and force the Steelers to show they can actually make an adjustment and stop something. To a man, Steelers players said this week that they would be ready for it. We shall see. If the Browns are able to move the ball on the Steelers defense, not only could this be a long game, this could be a shootout.

2. Antonio Brown

Joe Haden is questionable for the game. Then again, Joe Haden is questionable any time he faces Antonio Brown. There are some corners that absolutely have a WR's number (see: Ike Taylor against Chad Johnson). Joe Haden has made his money by shutting down big-time receivers in the AFC North like AJ Green and Torrey Smith. The flip side of that is that there are some WRs that absolutely own certain corners (see: Demaryius Thomas against Ike Taylor). Fortunately for the Steelers, the Antonio Brown-Joe Haden relationship falls into the later category. If Haden plays, buy stock in CVS and Rite Aid because Haden is going to need to be taking aloe baths all week. If Haden doesn't play, rookie Justin Gilbert might face off against AB in which case Ben should throw about 30 passes to AB alone.

3. Injuries

In addition to Haden being questionable, almost the entire defensive line for the Browns is listed on this week's injury report. Phil Taylor and Billy Wynn are out while Paul Kruger is questionable and Barkevious Mingo and Desmond Bryant are probable. The Steelers were able to move the ball, particularly on the ground, in the first half of the opener. With the amount of injuries up front, the Steelers offensive line should be able to control the point of attack and open holes for Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. If the Steelers can run the ball effectively (which they should be able to given the proper play-calling), they can keep the Browns offense off the field.

4. Points

The Steelers defense is basically a block of swiss cheese. They have allowed Brian Hoyer, Joe Flacco and Mike Glennon to throw the ball all over the yard. The Browns defense has been bad and has a ton of injuries this week. Luckily for the Steelers, they didn't suffer any new injuries over the last few weeks and are still working their way through Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier and Ike Taylor being out. Cortez Allen started to come around and has 2 picks in 2 weeks. Nevertheless, both offenses have been very good at moving the ball and both defenses can't stop anything. This game could be played in the 30s.

5. Browns Fans

The Browns are 2-2 and already their fans are coming out of the woodwork to talk trash on Twitter. Before the game. No, I'm not joking. Given the way the second half of the opener went, I'm willing to admit that this game could go very poorly for the Steelers. However, the number one rule of smack talk is being able to back it up. And right now, before the game, Cleveland is pretty much falling back on this:

...and of course this:

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