3 keys to success for the Steelers defense vs. Browns tonight

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3. Don't Forget About Donovan Peoples-Jones

Donovan Peoples-Jones only has seven catches for 139 yards in five career games against Pittsburgh. In last year's games, he had just three catches for 52 yards. He's not been historically dangerous against Pittsburgh. Furthermore, he was limited to just one reception for 12 yards against Cincinnati last week.

So why should Pittsburgh key on DPJ? Well, the fourth-year wide receiver wearing No. 11 for San Francisco has a bit to do with it. Similar to Brandon Aiyuk, 2022 was a big year for Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones had 61 receptions for 839 yards and three scores, which wasn't quite as big a season as Aiyuk, but it points to consistent improvement for the former Michigan Wolverine.

All things being equal, the Steelers did a solid job of locking up Deebo Samuel and George Kittle last week. Cristian McCaffrey and Aiyuk were totally different stories. A similar outcome for Cleveland's offensive weapons would most likely benefit Peoples-Jones.

Peoples-Jones is a talented receiver, and while he may not be quite as skilled as Aiyuk, he's a reliable weapon that can take advantage of his opportunities. While Cooper may not be available, it's vital the Steelers don't repeat mistakes from last week. Locking up Chubb and either Cooper or Njoku would be a huge advantage for Pittsburgh. But allowing the number two weapon to eat up yards and endzone trips like Aiyuk did last week would dismiss those efforts once again.

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The defensive miscommunication wasn't limited to the linebackers. The new-look defensive backfield struggled last week and Aiyuk was the beneficiary. Pittsburgh has to tighten up that communication and their coverage of the players that aren't star-caliber weapons.