Three games that will decide the Cleveland Browns playoff fate
Week 13: Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Some may be surprised that I didn’t put the Ravens here. Considering the Steelers lost some major weapons on offense and that the Ravens won the division last year, you can make a strong case for them being here.
However, don’t sleep on the Steelers. Pittsburgh went 8-7-1 last season without star running back Le’Veon Bell. This season they look to be without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, both star players in the NFL. Despite these losses, losing both of them could benefit the team.
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Young stud JuJu Smith-Schuster will emerge as the number one option for the Steelers squad. He’s going to have a lot of motivation this season to erase Antonio Brown from the memories of Steelers fans, and Big Ben will too. Losing Antonio Brown might be better for the team chemistry, considering how polarizing his relationship seemed with Big Ben in the locker room.
James Conner emerged last season as a very good starting running back also. He proved last year what the Steelers backfield can be without Le’Veon Bell, and it looked pretty darn good.
This game will be important for the Browns to secure the win because, in my opinion, the Steelers are the biggest threat to winning the division. Getting divisional wins on the road is very difficult, and a win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh would be huge. This game is definitely in the top three most difficult games for the team to win next season.
How late in the season this game also helps push its importance. It is the second to last away game the team has. Considering the only other away game we have is against the Cardinals, it’s the last difficult away game the Browns have also.
Week 13 is also that special time where you stop thinking about week by week and also start considering playoff what-if scenarios. After this game, the Browns will have four games left, two against the Bengals, one against the Cardinals, and one against the Ravens. This might be the last win the Browns would notch over a playoff game if they won.
Lets also not forget how big of a culture change a win in Pittsburgh would be against the Steelers. If Baker, Odell, and crew want to show the AFC North who the powerhouse is now, then a win against the old top dog is the way to go.