Saturday, November 10, 2007

Browns: What are the Chances…?

On Sunday the Steelers play a Cleveland team that has won three consecutive games and seems poised to contend for a playoff spot, especially when one considers the Browns’ soft remaining schedule. However, it’s worth noting that most of Cleveland’s success has come against teams with losing records, and it remains to be seen whether Romeo Crennel & Co. are ready for prime-time, so to speak.

There is no doubt that WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow present a serious challenge for Pittsburgh’s secondary, and both figure to make their share of big plays. Edwards and Winslow have enabled QB Derek Anderson to put up big numbers at times, but again, most of his success has come against lesser teams. One major difference between this game and the earlier meeting is that the Steelers’ pass rushers probably won’t be able to exploit rookie LT Joe Thomas like they did in the opener. Thomas has since been playing at an All-Pro level and he’s a big reason why Cleveland’s offense has been having success.

On the other side of the ball, the Browns’ defense could again have a lot of problems stopping Ben Roethlisberger & Co., especially when the Steelers attack via the pass. On the other hand, if it turns out that Big Ben’s mobility is affected by monday night’s hip pointer the offense could be compromised somewhat, especially in light of the struggles often experienced by the Steelers’ O-line.

Our sense is that Cleveland is definitely a team on the rise, but still not likely to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. We estimate the Steelers’ chances of winning this game at 65 percent, our optimism muted somewhat by uncertainty about Big Ben’s health, the short preparation time, and the fact that Cleveland has been on a roll.

What are the Chances…? is 7-1 this season and 20-4 all-time.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home