Thursday Night Football Preview: Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers

For the first time since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's retirement, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns in a pivotal divisional clash on Thursday Night Football. Despite a Wildcard round defeat following the 2020 season that seemed to signal a changing of the guard, the Steelers defeated the Browns twice last year thanks in part to the struggles of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Now as both teams trot out new starters at the quarterback position, a new hierarchy will begin to come into focus in the AFC North. The Browns are 4.5-point favorites to pick up the win.

The Browns have played down to the wire in both their games of the 2022 regular season. Cleveland pulled out a narrow 26-24 win against the Carolina Panthers with a 58-yard field goal in the waning seconds in Week 1, but they surrendered a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of a 31-30 defeat to the New York Jets in Week 2. The Browns hope to maintain their competitiveness as they await the return of suspended quarterback Deshaun Watson, and it appears they've built an offense that can support him. The Browns lead the NFL with 404 yards rushing and their 5.3 yards per carry ranks fourth.
Photo Credit: © Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile, the Steelers will hope their season didn't peak with their dramatic Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers defense crashed down to earth after their seven sack, five takeaway performance in the season opener; the team failed to register a single sack without superstar T.J. Watt in the lineup in their 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots. Without an elite defense, the Steelers season could be undone by an offense that has struggled so far under new starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The team ranks 30th in yards per play as well as yards per game across the first two weeks of the regular season.

The Cleveland Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football in Week 3.

Photo Credit: © Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports