Some casual observers might view Thursday night’s matchup between the Browns and Steelers, on paper, as a lopsided affair. But it was only two years ago that a very similar matchup between the teams -– also an NFL Network Thursday night game -– ended with the then 1-11 Browns ending the Steelers’ playoff hopes with a surprising 13-6 win.
That is, of course, why they play the game. And the Steelers haven’t forgotten.
NFL Network color analyst Mike Mayock will be in the broadcast booth for Thursday’s game, and he has one key facet in mind if the Browns want to pull off the upset again.
“The key for Cleveland this week is to stop the run,” Mayock said. “The last two weeks, the defense has been gashed. On Sunday, Ray Rice and the Baltimore offense rushed for nearly 300 yards. You can’t win a game that way. Two weeks ago, Cedric Benson went for more than 100 yards. If Pittsburgh can run the ball effectively it’s going to be a long night for the Browns.”
The Browns haven’t won that way. They rank 31st in run defense (151.2 yards per game) and have allowed seven 100-yard games this season. To pull off another upset, the Browns hope a heavy dose of now healthy RB Peyton Hillis can keep the offense of the Steelers off the field.