Steelers vs. Browns: 5 things to know about Pittsburgh's Week 2 matchup

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
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This game is an early season must win for the Steelers

While the season is far from over after losing the season-opener, the Steelers really can’t afford to go 0-2 with both losses at home in what is expected to be a tough AFC North this season.

In recent history there have been three teams — Cincinnati, Houston, and Seattle — that have started a season 0-2, yet rallied to make the playoffs.

The Bengals did so last season, winning the AFC North along the way. The Texans actually started 0-3 in 2018 before rallying to win the AFC South. The Seahawks started 0-2 in 2018 before managing to make the playoffs as a wild card in the NFC West.

Pittsburgh has been winless in its first two games three times in the past decade. The Steelers began 0-3 in 2019, 0-1-1 in 2018, and 0-4 in 2013 — failing to make the playoffs all three of those seasons.

The last time the Steelers started 0-2 and managed to rebound to make the playoffs was in 2002 under Bill Cowher. Pittsburgh finished 10-5-1 that season and won the AFC North.

Besides notching their first win of 2023, a win against Cleveland could possibly result in a four-way tie for first in the AFC North race. That would occur if the Steelers win, and the Bengals beat the visiting Ravens on Sunday. All four teams in the division would then be tied at 1-1.

As of mid-week and according to Fanduel Sportsbook, the Bengals are 3.5 point favorites against the Ravens, while the Steelers are 2.5 point home underdogs against the visiting Browns on Monday night.

A loss would be devastating to the Steelers. Besides the additional doubt that would creep in, the Browns would be atop the division with a 2-0 record, with a road victory in Pittsburgh to boot.