Found November 25, 2012 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to rebound from a very tough loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in week 11. Turnovers and a big punt return touchdown cost the Steelers a game they had a very good chance at winning. When it was all said and done the Ravens had squeaked out a 13-10 win and had taken a two game lead on the Steelers in the AFC North division. In week 12 the Pittsburgh Steelers will head to Cleveland to play the original Ravens, the Browns.
Cleveland comes into the game with a 2-8 record, but has lost by a touchdown or less five times. The Browns defense has been good at times during the 2012 season; it is the Cleveland offense that has struggled. Cleveland ranks close to the bottom of the league in yards and points per game on offense.
Once again the Steelers will be heading into the game with a new quarterback; it will be the third straight game with a different starting quarterback. Today it will be Charlie Batch that leads the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns. If Batch suffers an injury, as Byron Leftwich did last week, the Steelers will have to turn to newly acquired back-up quarterback Brian Hoyer. Batch will also have a newly acquired target in the passing game in Plaxico Burress, who is expected to be used a lot in the red zone or short yardage situations.
At only two games back in the division this game could prove vital if the Steelers want to remain in the hunt. They can’t afford to lose another division game and with the possibility of having Ben Roethlisberger back next week they still have a chance to catch the Ravens.
Keys to the game:
1.) The Old Man vs. The Old Rookie – Charlie Batch is ten days away from his 38th birthday. Brandon Weeden is a 29 year old rookie. These two will have a big impact on who wins the game. The Steelers need their old reliable, in Batch, to outplay the rookie today. Batch has had success when filling in for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are hoping that’s the case again today. Weeden has thrown 12 interceptions this season, but in the Browns two wins he has thrown one total.
2.) Baby Cribbs – Josh Cribbs owns the Steelers and is one of the more dangerous returners in recent history. A week ago the injury riddled Steelers would have beaten the Baltimore Ravens if not for a punt return touchdown. They can’t afford to do that again this week and will need to make sure they contain Cribbs.
3.) Ride the Hot Hand – The Steelers are trying to find the right mix of running backs, but they need to ride the hot hand. No matter who is running well that player needs to be in the game even if he wasn’t listed as the starter heading into the game. Pittsburgh had three outstanding running performances in the middle of the season, but outside of those three games they have been lackluster. If they want to dominate the game today they will need to re-establish that run game.
4.) Can Plax Still play? – Pittsburgh signed Plaxico Burress four days ago and will rely on him to help the offense today. He will be playing in certain situations and may need help with the offense, but the biggest question is if he can still be a difference maker. Burress helped the Jets a season ago with over 600 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Steelers are hoping to get some similar performances from him throughout the rest of the 2012 season.
5.) Help Adams’ Right – Mike Adams has been very good in the run game and very suspect in the passing game. His pass blocking may have been a big reason for Byron Leftwich injury extent. The Steelers need to help him out on his side if he is struggling in pass blocking by giving him tight end help or by chipping his man off the line. Adams is a rookie and is continuing to improve, but leaving him on an island may be a bad move; especially with an injury prone 37 year old quarterback passing behind him.
6.) Force Weeden to Throw – Brandon Weeden has struggled this season, but the Browns are more focused on running the ball with Trent Richardson. The Steelers will need to stop the running game and force Weeden to throw. If they can do that and put pressure on him they can force him to make mistakes and it may lead to a big defensive play or touchdown that could help the Steelers put this game away.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need this game. They will come in angry after last weeks loss and the defense should dominate the Cleveland offense. As long as they can keep Josh Cribbs in check in the return game they should be able to put up more points than the Browns and that means they will walk away with a much needed win. The real question is whether or not Charlie Batch can stay healthy if he is taking hits. Batch has had injury issues in recent years and is closing in on 38 years of age. If he goes down the Steelers may be forced to use a quarterback that has been on the team for four days, that doesn’t exactly instill confidence.
I’ll take the Steelers 20-10. Oh, and go Chargers!
The post Week 12: The Pittsburgh Steelers @ The Cleveland Browns appeared first on SteelBlitz.
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