Cleveland Browns 2022 opponent preview: Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 3

Jacob Phillips. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jacob Phillips. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The first AFC North matchup for the Cleveland Browns comes in Week 3 as they host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s a look at their opponent that week.

As we enter June, the Cleveland Browns are working toward the 2022 season as they continue to work through their OTAs.

Not only are they working on their game plans but they’re also figuring out who will make their 53-man roster.

While that goes on, we are taking a look ahead at their upcoming schedule, with a look at each of their opponents. Here, we check in on the hated Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers 2021 season

In 2021, Pittsburgh got off to a slow start as they were 1-3 to begin the season. They were able to right the ship but continued to hover around .500. Ben Roethlisberger, who retired after the year was over, didn’t seem to have the velocity on his passes anymore but he was still getting the ball out quick and gave his team a chance.

He did have help with Diontae Johnson who was great after the catch as well as rookie running back Najee Harris. The starting running back had 1,667 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns.

Their defense was also solid with T.J. Watt leading the way. Watt had 22.5 sacks on the season to tie the NFL record and four of those came in Week 17 against Cleveland.

Add that all up and the Steelers went 9-7-1 and made it to the playoffs. They were one-and-done but it was still an accomplishment to get as far as they did after a rough start.

Key offseason moves

The Steelers had more departures than additions when it comes to veterans as they lost JuJu Smith-Schuster to the Kansas City Chiefs, James Washington to the Dallas Cowboys, and Ben Roethlisberger to retirement.

They did sign Mitchell Trubisky and draft Kenny Pickett to compete for the quarterback job and added wide receiver George Pickens and defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal in the draft as well.

When do the teams meet?

The Steelers and Browns meet in Cleveland in Week 3, which will be a Thursday Night Football game. They close out the season in Pittsburgh as the two teams face off in Week 18.

Last time the Cleveland Browns played Pittsburgh

Cleveland faced the Steelers late last season in what ended up being Ben Roethlisberger’s final game before retiring. It was also the last time Baker Mayfield would be the starter for the Browns, but hardly anyone saw that coming.

Mayfield struggled mightily in this one, going just 16-of-38 for 185 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. The Steelers didn’t get much out of their signal-caller either as Big Ben was just 24-of-46 for 123 yards with a touchdown and an interception but Najee Harris ran for 188 yards to carry his team to a 26-14 win.

Player to watch

The quarterback play is now trending in the opposite direction for the Steelers, but their running game is on point. Najee Harris had a great rookie season not only rushing the ball but also as a pass catcher. He’s a player who can give Cleveland fits if they’re not careful, which we all saw in Week 17 last year when he nearly hit 200 yards.

Whether it’s Trubisky or Pickett, the Browns will likely try and force Pittsburgh away from the ground game and make their quarterback decide the outcome.

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On defense, the guy to watch is T.J. Watt. He’s been a thorn in the Browns side for years and had one of his best games ever when facing Cleveland in their final meeting in 2021.