Week Six in the NFL brings one particular matchup that should captivate fans. Granted, this rivalry dates back to 1950. In fact, October 7th marked the 70th anniversary of the Steelers/Browns rivalry. From the outside, the rivalry seems rather one-sided. The Steelers enjoy a 76-59-1 advantage over their rivals from Ohio. Yet, this Sunday’s game feels a bit different.
Raise your hand, if you truly believed the Browns would stand at 4-1 over the first third of the season. Now, lower it, because you are lying. Few believed the Browns would win four of their first five, averaging thirty points per game. On top of that, the Browns walked into Dallas, hanging 49 on the Cowboys, in front of the football world. In their four wins, the Browns totaled 350+ yards in three of them. Offensively, Cleveland ranks in the top ten in passing TD and all four major rush categories. While Baker Mayfield’s film and stats may appear pedestrian at best, the run game continues to act as the saving grace. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt each average over five-yards-per-carry, combining for seven touchdowns. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski emphasizes the run game, above everything else. To this point, the Browns adhere to his preference.
New Era Steelers
Granted, Ben Roethlisberger his seventeenth season. You know what to expect with him. While he averages the fewest passing yards per game in his career since 2016, the throws matter. That is to say, Roethlisberger finds himself throwing at a higher completed air yards per completion. Roethlisberger throws fewer but slightly deeper passes. In return, that opens up the run game. James Conner and Benny Snell brutalize offenses, allowing the wideouts unencumbered down the field.
Kareem Hunt is no stranger to controversy and horrible decisions. This week, he decided to proclaim the Browns would win the game for Myles Garrett. If you remember, Myles Garrett decided to hit Steelers’ QB, Mason Rudolph, on the head with a helmet. The league suspended Garrett for the duration of the season. Yet, Kareem Hunt finds this as some sort of slight. Now, we get motivational talks all the time. Yet, Garrett committed a physical assault with a weapon. Make it make sense.
The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will take the field and will decide first place in the AFC North. These long-time rivals will add another chapter to this contentious rivalry.