Steelers’ secondary will play better this week
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy picked the Steelers apart in week 1 and had a lot of success throwing over the middle. He connected with wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel on 13 of his 19 completions, with Aiyuk tearing up the defense with 129 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.
But after a week of reviewing the film and practice, and knowing that Cleveland’s offense is a lot different schematically than the 49ers, I believe the Steelers will play better on the back end this week.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, who moved around a lot in week 1, will likely play more at his free safety position this week. If he does, expect Keanu Neal to see more action in the box, trying to mitigate Chubb. The Steelers may also give more playing time to rookie Joey Porter, Jr. and /or newly-signed free agent Desmond King in favor of Levi Wallace, who struggled last week.
In addition, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has only graded out with a quarterback rating of over 100 once in seven tries with Cleveland, a 9-of-18, 169-yard, 3 TD performance in a 24-10 win at Washington last season.
Prior to his legal troubles, Watson had a rating of over 100 in 12 of 16 games with Houston during the 2020 season. Over his last three seasons as a Texan, he accomplished the feat 28 times.
Cleveland may also be without starting WR Amari Cooper, who suffered a groin injury in Saturday’s practice. He’s listed as questionable for the game.