The 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers come into this game with negative momentum. After roaring out to an 11-0 start to the season, the Steelers lost four of their last five games. The Steelers boast the NFL’s #3 ranked defense. Other than that, the Steelers have been a pedestrian football team. The Steelers ranked dead last in rushing yardage this year. They were better in the passing game, ranking #15 in passing yards. However, the Steelers ranked #1 in passing attempts. That signifies one of the least efficient passing attacks in the NFL. The worst rushing attack in the NFL paired with one of the least efficient passing attacks in the NFL spells trouble for the Steelers’ offense. This Steelers team is likely to go only as far as the defense carries them.
The 11-5 Cleveland Browns come into this game with a -11 point differential, suggesting their 11-5 record may be a bit of a mirage. The Browns cleaned up on a very weak schedule this year, but they do have signature wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans to their credit. The Browns also beat the Steelers in the last game of the season, but that was a Steelers team without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Unfortunately for the Browns today, they will be without their two top cornerbacks, as well as head coach Kevin Stefanski due to COVID-19. A rash of other injuries and illnesses has a large contingent of key Browns players questionable for the game, leaving the Browns handicapped against the Steelers. Unfortunately that’s one of the hazards of this unique pandemic NFL season.
It’s the Steelers and the Browns in the finale of an NFL playoffs tripleheader. Enjoy the game everybody.