In the first installment of 2016’s edition of this classic rivalry, the Cleveland Browns are heavy underdogs. What must they focus on in order to shock the world?
Depending on one’s definition of the term “rivalry,” the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns could either have one of the strongest in the league, or none at all. On one hand, Cleveland fans have a great deal of spite for the Steelers. But on the other hand, the history between the two teams is so lopsided it’s hard to classify this as a rivalry.
The Browns are 4-28 in their last 32 matchups with Pittsburgh, and have been outscored 771-371 in all of these meetings combined. Yet somehow, fans get so excited for Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh matchups, as they are always meaningful for the Steelers down the stretch.
The situation the two teams enter this one in is not unfamiliar, but very different. Both teams are used to the circumstances they currently have. However, Cleveland does not often feel such pressure to get into the win column, as they are still winless. Pittsburgh isn’t usually trailing in the AFC North race and doesn’t normally have a losing record at this time of year.
Still, the game is already seemingly out of reach for the Browns before kickoff. Pittsburgh is favored according to Las Vegas by eight points, and coming off of their heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys, they are sure to be focused in this critical game.
Though virtually no one will give Cleveland a shot in this one, they still have to put together a gameplan, knowing that time is running out to come up with a win. The following are the keys to the game, detailing what the Browns need to do well in order to keep themselves in this game and have an opportunity to pull off a miraculous upset.