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Lake County Sentinel
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers Preview and Predictions
Tommy Shirer's view

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will meet for a third time this season. I believe this rubber match will go to the Browns in a close game, it has been a magical season for the team. With Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster saying the Browns are the same old Browns. I believe that is just more motivation for the already very motivated Browns team. It will be a hard fought typical AFC North game that comes down to the wire.

Prediction: Browns 27 Steelers 24

Tim Shirer's view
Finally after 18 seasons North America's worst sport franchise has finally made it to the playoffs.  On Sunday the Cleveland Browns will play their rival the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh at a fans less Heinz Field.

The two teams met a week ago in the regular season finale, the Steelers rested some starters and the Browns prevailed 24-22.

The last time the Browns made it to the playoffs in 2002 they played the Steelers in Pittsburgh and lost 36-33 with Tommy Maddox under center for Pittsburgh.  Yes, they lost to legendary Tommy Maddox.  They don't have to worry about facing the former XFL MVP Maddox this time, they only have to face future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger.

Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski who should be the unanimous Coach of the Year for turning around the dumpster fire of a franchise will not be there because he has COVID-19.  Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt will call the plays in the game and Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer will act as head coach.

Sadly, the longest tenured Browns player Joe Bitonio will miss the game due to COVID-19.  Also Cornerback Denzel Ward is on the COVID-19 list and will not play.

But with the Browns running attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt the Browns should have a chance if Baker Mayfield doesn't make mistakes.  I think the key is, if the Browns offense can keep the ball away from the Steelers offense by using the running game 75% of the time.  Not because the Steelers offense is great, but because the Browns defense is so poor.  Aside from Myles Garrett there isn't much there and I think if given the chance Mike Tomlin will expose the Browns lack of linebackers and porous secondary.  

If the game is close (within seven points either way) to start the fourth quarter the Browns will have a shot.  Unfortunately, the fact the Browns let Joe Schoebert and Christian Kirksey go in free agency will finally come back to haunt them.

Prediction: Steelers 37 Browns 24

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​POSTED 01/09/2021 18:42