If the Cleveland Browns are planning on dancing on the Steelers’ grave this Halloween, then these five matchups will prove to be pivotal.
The Cleveland Browns were able to right the ship in Week 7 and are looking to start stacking wins coming off of their mini bye. They enter their first divisional matchup of the year with an overall record of 4-3 and are aiming to get their third straight victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
If the Browns wish to compete for the AFC North title then this game is, in essence, a must-win.
The extra three days’ rest that the Browns enjoyed coming off their Thursday Night Football victory over the Broncos have helped some key players get back on the field. Maybe even more importantly, the additional time allowed for the coaching staff to conduct a self-scout to help shore up some of their early-season deficiencies.
However, the Steelers are coming off of a full week bye of their own and have been focusing on this rivalry game for two weeks. The time for planning and preparation is over and now it’s time for execution. Here are five key matchups that could very well decide the outcome of this AFC North showdown.
Cleveland Browns Matchup No. 1: Jarvis Landry vs Arthur Maulet
Despite the wars you may have seen on Twitter, it is evident that Jarvis Landry brings more than just a reliable set of hands to the football field. Landry brings an infectious, dare I say contagious, energy to the Browns offense when he is on the field. In order for Jarvis to ‘Juice’ up his teammates, the Browns will look to get the crafty veteran involved early in the game.
It’s no secret that Landry does most of his best work from the slot position and given the Steelers proclivity for playing man-to-man defense means that Arthur Maulet will get a fair dose of ‘Juice’ on Sunday afternoon.
Maulet, a fifth-year journeyman cornerback, has quietly had a decent start in his first year with Pittsburgh. However, Landry is not a typical twitchy slot receiver and will force Maulet to adapt to his style of route running.
Landry’s physicality and ability to be where Baker Mayfield needs him to be will make him the centerpiece to Cleveland’s passing attack. More than ever, Mayfield, due to his shoulder injury, needs a security blanket and Landry is the man for the job.