Updated: Oct 19
The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979 and will host the 4-1 Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field. It's a pivotal game in the AFC North that is shaping up to be a three-team race for the division title. It's also the biggest game between the two franchises since the Steelers beat the Browns, 31-28, in Week 10 of the 2007 season. The Steelers were 6-2 going into the game and the Browns were 5-3.
- The Steelers are 76-59-1 all-time against the Browns. Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 21-4-1 against the Browns and Ben Roethlisberger is 23-2-1 in his career against Cleveland. Since the Browns rejoined the league in 1999, the Steelers are 35-7-1 against the Browns. So yeah, the Steelers have dominated the Browns in the past 21 years. The last time the Browns beat the Steelers at Heinz Field was on Oct. 5, 2003. Cleveland beat Pittsburgh, 33-13, on that night and it's their lone victory at Heinz Field since its opening in 2001. To put in perspective to just how long it's been since the Browns have been this good, according to Tom Reed of DKPittsburghSports, Sunday's game between the Steelers and Browns will be the first meeting since Dec. 18, 1994, in which both teams were at least three games over .500. That was the last season the Browns won a playoff game and Bill Belichick was roaming the sidelines as Cleveland's head coach.
- The Steelers are 3.5-point favorites against the Browns on Sunday and the over/under is 51 points, according to Oddsshark.com. Cleveland is 1-7 straight up against the spread in its last eight road games and Pittsburgh is 11-2 straight up in its last 13 division games at home, per Oddsshark.com. The Browns have lost 16 straight games at Pittsburgh (avg margin: 12.5).
- Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have moved on from the Mason Rudolph-Myles Garrett altercation that took place last November in Cleveland. Most of the Browns have as well. However, running back Kareem Hunt wants to win this game for Garrett and Browns fans.
"Nobody likes having their season cut short," Kareem Hunt said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I know I didn’t. I’m almost positive I know Myles wasn’t either. That’s the thing about that. Myles is a great player, a great person and a great teammate. You just learn a lot going through situations like that. You just have to come ready, forget about all that stuff and do whatever you can. This one is for Myles. This one is for Cleveland Browns fans. This one is for a lot of things.”
- The Browns come into Week 6 with the best rushing offense in the league, averaging 188.4 yards per game. The Steelers rank second in rush defense, allowing just 64 yards per game. So something will have to give on Sunday. The Browns have a much-improved offensive line with two new tackles -- rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and right tackle Jack Conklin, who they signed in free agency. They also have a new offensive line coach in Bill Callahan, who is considered as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. The Steelers have a solid group up front as well with Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu and Cameron Heyward, along with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree at outside linebacker, who have all played at a high level this year. The game will certainly be won in the trenches on Sunday.
"Their tackles have been playing big for them," Cameron Heyward said. "They're mean, nasty guys that finish plays. That's what you want out of your tackles."
The Browns' offensive philosophy is to run the ball effectively and then get Baker Mayfield going on play-action and bootlegs. Cleveland has played with the lead in the majority of their games this season, so Mayfield has been put in favorable situations. The Steelers have to make the Browns one-dimensional and force Mayfield into third-and-long situations, as Pittsburgh is tied for first in the league in sacks with 20 and are averaging five sacks per game this year. Mayfield is also dealing with a chest/rib injury so getting pressure on him is paramount. The Steelers lead the league in pressure rate at 50% and Baker Mayfield's passer rating under pressure is 30.9, which ranks 31st in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
"They have a good running game. They have good players on the offensive side of the ball," Devin Bush said. "We've been working on our disciplines and playing our defenses at the right time, executing at the right time and doing what we can to eliminate those big runs. That's the biggest thing, being able to combat that run and being able to play those three hard downs and not let them run the whole game. You want to focus on their run game. Their run game is really, really big."
- David DeCastro (abdonimal) and Diontae Johnson (back) both have been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Browns. For the Browns, guard Wyatt Teller (calf), safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. (concussion), safety Karl Joseph (hamstring) and linebacker Jacob Phillips (knee) have been ruled out for Sunday. Quarterback Baker Mayfield (chest/ribs), wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip/ribs), wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., punter Jamie Gillan (groin), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (abdomen) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (groin) are all listed as questionable for Sunday. Beckham's second test came back negative today and has been cleared to face the Steelers, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Kevan Stefanski said Thursday "he doesn't want to assume anything, but with all of the COVID-19 protocols, we'll just be safe," in regards to Beckham.