Saturday, September 13, 2008

Browns: What are the Chances...?

Back in early 2004, as the NFL draft approached, the Browns made a fateful decision to acquire Trent Dilfer, signing the veteran QB to a four-year contract. The move essentially precluded Cleveland from selecting Ben Roethlisberger, who was still available with the sixth pick in that year's draft. (Instead, the Browns chose a tight end, Kellen Winslow Jr., a good player but not a franchise-changing performer.) Cleveland has been paying for that mistake ever since, as Roethlisberger has posted a 40-16 regular season record over four-plus seasons and is 7-0 against the Browns (including 4-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium).

Tomorrow the Browns will try to contain Roethlisberger once more, and unless Cleveland generates a fierce pash rush, its shaky defensive backfield figures to be exposed by Big Ben. But the key to the game for the Steelers will be to keep both Braylon Edwards (WR) and Joshua Cribbs (KR) from making big plays. Without "splash" plays from those two players it seems unlikely that the Browns will be able to keep pace with Pittsburgh's balanced attack.

The Steelyard predicts a win for the Steelers, giving Pittsburgh a 65 percent chance of winning this game. "What are the Chances...?" is 1-0 this season and 27-7 all-time.

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