The Steelers are on a roll, and they take on a familiar foe in a similar position to them in the Cleveland Browns. Seemingly dealt a killing blow this week, the Browns announced that starting quarterback Deshaun Watson would miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. That said, this game won’t be a walk in the park.
Cleveland has shown the ability to win without Watson this year, and their defense is one of the best in the league. While the Steelers have been winning, they still don’t look like an elite unit by any means. Here are four questions they will have to answer if they want to beat the Browns this week.
Can the Steelers win in the offensive trenches?
The Steelers offense finally looked like the unit that was promised to the fanbase last week against the Packers. While the passing game wasn’t pretty, the running game was effective. No matter the circumstance, this team found ways to churn out tough yards and extend drives. It was refreshing after most of the year looking helpless.
The offensive line has also taken some big steps forward in recent weeks. Akin to last year, this unit has been gelling in the second half of this season and has been constantly winning in the trenches. This has propelled the run game forward and made it a potent aspect of this offense.
Unfortunately, the Browns boast one of the better-rushing defenses and a stout defensive line to boot. They won’t move as easily as others have, and if this offense isn’t capable of winning through the air.
While trench play is important in any given week, the Steelers need to allow this offense to do what works. If Kenny Pickett is asked to command this offense and constantly make big plays, the Browns defense will eat him alive. The hot streak that the unit is on needs to continue.