In the National Football League, nothing is decided until it’s decided. But this matchup is about as sure to be picked right as they come. To say the least, the Steelers have had the Browns number over the past several years. It is by no means a 100% percent guarantee for a win, which is why you shouldn’t put it in sharpie, but here are five reasons the Steelers should beat the Browns and chalk up a W.
1. The Browns Quarterbacks
There is no bigger reason that the Steelers should win this game than Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. Neither is deserving of a starting quarterback job in the NFL right now. If there is anything that should help the Steelers young defense get acclimated to the season, it should be playing against this offense. Even if Hoyer/Manziel had Josh Gordon to throw, the offensive weapons still wouldn’t be good enough to compensate for the below average quarterback play.
2. Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons
In a defense that is filled with new members and inexperience as starters or in Dick LeBeau’s scheme, the inside linebackers figure to pace the defense. The combination of these two linebackers, in my opinion, showed during the preseason that they are among the best tandems in the league. If they continue their stellar play into the regular season they will be a force to be reckoned with. With Jordan Cameron being by far the Browns’ weapon, if Shazier can take him out of the game then the Steelers D should be in for a good afternoon.
3. The Steelers’ O-Line
Jul 26, 2014; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak instructs technique in drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Browns defense is good, amazing compared to their offense, but they have key players who are new to the defense this year. If the Steelers offensive line plays as good as it had during the preseason, a well oiled Mike Munchak line will overmatch the Browns’ defense. For the Steelers’ offense to be able to put up points that the Browns’ offense can’t match, the offensive line will have to play well. If they can do that, then this shouldn’t be much of a game.
4. Improved Wide Receiving Corps
Yes, you did read that right. As big of a criticizer of the team failing to make receiver a priority this offseason as I was, at this point I don’t have any doubts that the wide receiver corps is improved over last year. The main reason is that, in my opinion at least, Markus Wheaton is better than Emmanuel Sanders. That isn’t a widely held opinion but I don’t think It’s even close. Wheaton is a better route runner, he has better straight line speed, and most importantly better hands. Not to mention Heath Miller is still playing tight end.
5. Big Ben Roethlisberger
Who or what else would be the biggest reason for the Steelers to win any given football game than the star quarterback. Roethlisberger is as big a reason as any that the Steelers have had as much success as they have had over the past ten years. There’s no reason to think that stops this year, especially since he will have more control over the offense this year. With Todd Haley, hopefully, mostly out of the way Ben should be able to lead this offense like he should. The game against the Browns shouldn’t be any exception.