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The Winning Mix

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The Winning Mix: 3 keys to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers 

Browns look to get to back on track against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football 


We are on to Pittsburgh. Yes, the Browns should be 2-0 rather than 1-1, but they get a chance to get back to their winning ways on a short week against the T.J. Watt-less Steelers in a critical early season AFC North matchup

1. Don't Beat Yourself

I don't care if we're talking about turnovers, special teams blunders, back-breaking penalties or blown coverages on defense because if the Browns do their jobs tonight, they will beat the Steelers. Pittsburgh is struggling mightily on offense, and without T.J. Watt in the lineup, they are 0-5 all time. The Browns should be 2-0 with two easy wins, and can only look in the mirror for the reason that they sit at 1-1. So, if they can clean up those mistakes and not beat themselves, the Browns will beat the Steelers and get to 2-1.

Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday Night Football

2. Run The Ball

Through two weeks, the Browns are averaging 200.5 yards rushing per game, most in the NFL. The Browns have been generating 5.1 yards per carry and they already have four rushing scores. Currently there are only seven players in the NFL with 100-plus rushing yards and two-plus total touchdowns.  Two of them, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, are on the Browns.  

Last week, the Patriots gashed the Steelers on the ground, with their running backs alone rushing 24 times for 118 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown.  They were especially dominant rushing outside of the tackles where the Pats averaged a whopping 5.8 yards per carry. Wouldn't ya know that since entering the NFL in 2018, Nick Chubb leads the NFL in rushing yards (3,791), yards per carry (5.8) and rushing touchdowns (28) on runs outside of the tackles. With Watt out, the Browns can attack the smaller edge defenders of the Steelers with their punishing ground game. It should also be noted that the Browns are 19-7 in their last 26 games with at least 100 yards rushing, so it is a very good formula for success.  Also keep an eye on if the Browns can hit 180 yards on the ground tonight, because if they do, it will be the first time with four straight games of 180-plus since the days of Jim Brown carrying the rock back in 1957. T

3. Tight Coverage and Pressure Trubisky

Despite all of their talent at wide receiver — and they do have plenty of it — the Steelers are currently averaging 4.8 yards per pass attempt this year, dead last in the NFL. A big reason for that is that Mitch Trubisky is checking down often and getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible behind the shaky Steelers offensive line. 33 of Trubisky's 43 completions this year have come within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. So play tight and expect the ball out quickly and the Browns should be able to contain this anemic passing attack and potentially get their hands on the ball for game changing interceptions.

Trubisky has also struggled when under duress this year. When under pressure he is completing just 29 percent of his passes and averaging just 4.0 yards per attempt with a quarterback rating of 63. With no Jadeveon Clowney, young ends Alex Wright, Isaac Rochell and Isaiah Thomas have to step up and help Myles Garrett and Taven Bryan get after the quarterback. Another wrinkle for DC Joe Woods is the idea of blitzing Trubisky, who is completing just 33 percent of his passes for 3.9 yards per attempt and a 68 rating against the blitz. Let's turn up the heat on a cold night on the lake and get a big win for the Browns.

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