A quiet air of confidence surrounds the Cleveland Browns heading into the teams' nationally televised contest Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field hasn't been the kindest of venues for the Browns, but they are not playing a field, they have the Pittsburgh Steelers squarely in their sights.
The Browns' biggest meltdown of the Butch Davis era in far from the minds of the team, but it cannot be forgotten what occurred the last time the Browns traveled to Pittsburgh. Jumping all over a susceptible Steelers pass defense, the Browns were explosive throwing the ball and should have walked away the winner, the last time these two teams met.
While much is the same today, there are some noticeable differences.
The Steelers have had their share of struggles on the defensive side of the ball, surprisingly they have been inconsistent defending the run. The secondary has had their moments of success, but this Pittsburgh team can be thrown on.
So, something is going to give when the chin-straps are buckled up and these two divisional rivals get down and dirty, according to Simply Speaking, our man on the inside.
"It's still early, but we feel our backs are getting pretty damn close to that proverbial wall. We have a chance to get right back in the middle of the race (AFC North) with a win on Sunday night," Simply Speaking said. "Being down 0-2 within the division, this is a must game for us and a few surprises may be in order for this game."
In the practices leading up to the Sunday night battle, it has become evident to a man that the coaching staff has evaluated and broke down this Browns team and the opponent Pittsburgh Steelers endlessly.
"There are some elements on Pittsburgh that we believe an opportunity exists to exploit them, both offensively and defensively. They (Pittsburgh) have made some adjustments through the first four weeks of the season to address issues against the pass that may be good for us offensively. We really want to stretch them out, run them wide, get them in the nickel, we like our match-up there," Simply Speaking continued. "To win this game, we would like to be balanced offensively, but that may be unlikely. We'll show the run, but we know that we will have to be successful throwing the ball. This ought to be a heck of a football game."
· Wide receiver Dennis Northcutt is not 100% from two fractured ribs, but will play against the Steelers.
· Look for the Browns to step-up their dog-scheme, which will attack the line of scrimmage and pressure Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox.