NFL Game of The Week: Browns vs. Steelers
Week 6’s Game of the Week features the Cleveland Browns (yes, Cleveland) and the Pittsburgh Steelers in a pivotal AFC North matchup that could determine the division champion late in the season.
This is more than just a division rivalry, as Browns defensive end Myles Garrett faces the Steelers for the first time since he ripped off the helmet of Mason Rudolph, who was the quarterback for the Steelers at the time, and struck Rudolph with the helmet in a fight move straight out of a WWE wrestling match.
Since the altercation that costed him the season, Garrett has gotten back on track by posting the best season of his career. Garrett’s second in sacks to Aaron Donald and has forced three strip sacks in just five weeks. If Garrett can channel his aggression and use it productively in this game, the Steelers will be in a world of trouble.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski are on the same page after a brutal Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and Odell Beckham Jr. is finally looking like the star wide-receiver the Browns traded for. Not to mention, the team’s effective running game hasn’t lagged since Nick Chubb’s knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Steelers took an early bye week in Week 4 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 within the Tennessee Titans’ facility, but kept their undefeated record intact with a close win against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has returned with a vengeance this season and has silenced the haters with an incredible 10:1 touchdown-to-interception-ratio. New weapon Chase Claypool had a monster four-touchdown game against the Eagles.
This game is going to come down to the defenses and which can bend without breaking. Both teams feature outstanding rushing defenses headlined by superstar defensive ends with the aforementioned Garrett and the Steelers’ T.J. Watt exploding this season.
However, the Steelers rank second in the NFL in sacks, while the Browns come in just outside the top ten at 12th, per ESPN, so getting pressure on both quarterbacks will be key to stopping both powerful offenses.
This game could get very ugly or turn into an offensive explosion. But seeing Pittsburgh’s defense let up almost 30 points to an Eagles offense that struggled going into last week gives the impression that this will turn into a shootout.
That being said, the Browns offense is rolling and the defense will shut down Pittsburgh’s rushing game and force Roethlisberger to take more shots downfield, so expect Cleveland to solidify their status as a contender for the AFC this year.
Prediction: Browns 34, Steelers 27
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.