The Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers both call the North Division in the American Football Conference (AFC) home. The two teams represent cities in the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Ohio and they are traditional rivals.
That makes this Sunday’s game, which will be played in the western Pennsylvania city, a “contentious affair.” It will be a “battle from first play to last” even though the visiting Browns have a Won-Loss record of 2-7 and the home team Steelers have won five of nine games played.
When these two teams step on the same gridiron at the same time, won-loss records mean little. So, while Cleveland has found it hard to finish games in which it has had the lead, the squad from Ohio can be expected to “play all out” throughout the entire contest in an effort to be a “spoiler” and throw a wrench in Pittsburgh’s postseason plans.
The home team may be “ripe for an upset” because the tough and talented franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, injured his ankle in the squad’s last game (played this past Sunday) and will not be available to take snaps against the Browns.
At the same time, second year quarterback Johnny Manziel will be lining up behind center for the visitors. Manziel has yet to “live up to the hype” that followed him into the league last year. Nevertheless, he can throw accurately to any part of the field and he can run with the ball, too. That makes him, and his team, dangerous.
The Steelers, as every fan of the National Football League (NFL) knows, seem to be able to overcome losses to key personnel and win games when everyone expects them to lose. This team is especially tough when performing at home before its legion of enthusiastic fans.
Cleveland, despite the fact that it has lost seven games, fields a squad of young, talented and hungry players. Its defense is stout and its offense has shown flashes of brilliance. This team hasn’t “turned the corner” yet. It is still learning how to win close games.
It is also very capable of upsetting the favored Steelers this Sunday because Pittsburgh will line up behind backup quarterback Landry Jones.
This game holds out the promise of “an epic battle” between a team searching for an identity, the Cleveland Browns and a team trying to avoid a letdown while it waits for the return of its franchise quarterback.
A strong effort by the Cleveland Browns, a team that is healthy and “ready to go” may be enough to overcome the injury-riddled home team. And if that happens, it could reverse the fortunes of both squads. It will certainly add meaning to the season for the upstart Browns.
Courtesy of Dogpounddaily.com