The National Football League has never been overly difficult to figure out.
Besides the obvious of who scores more the only stat more telling is turnovers. It’s a simple formula really. Teams that turn the ball over lose more games.
Both the Steelers and the Browns are prime examples of this.
Now they head into the first of two AFC North Divisional match-ups against each other and turnovers will once again prove to be a major factor.
Adding to the potential for more turnovers is the weather. Wind and flurries are expected in Cleveland and highs are expected to be in the mid-20’s.
The Browns will continue doing what they’ve done all season on defense which is attack. Cornerback Joe Haden had two interceptions last week in Cincinnati returning one for a touchdown. Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense is what Dick LeBeau’s could and should be in many ways because he allows his guys to make plays on the ball rather than on the man.
The Steelers will do as they’ve always done which is look to stop the run first and then force Cleveland into being one-dimensional which is what the Bengals did last week. They forced Jason Campbell to throw 56 passes and intercepted him three times.
Dick LeBeau must do more to crank up the pressure though. LaMarr Woodley reportedly will play on Sunday but how effective will he be? That means Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones will have to get to the QB and so will the interior linemen.
Obviously job number one for the offenses is taking care of the ball but I can see both turning it over at least once a piece. If that happens, can the defenses hold?
Regardless of what happens turnover-wise, fans should expect a low-scoring and hard-hitting affair. Let’s also hope the Steelers don’t turn it over eight times like they did last time they played in Cleveland….
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.