Browns vs. Steelers: Time, live streaming, how to watch, key matchups, pick for ‘Thursday Night Football’

The Week 3 version of “Thursday Night Football” options an old-school AFC North rivalry, because the Cleveland Browns play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of those groups are coming off dispiriting losses every week in the past, after they’d picked up victories within the closing moments in Week 1.

The Browns blew a double-digit lead within the final two minutes of their sport in opposition to the Jets, whereas the Steelers barely moved the ball all day in opposition to the Patriots. Each of those groups is trying to get again within the win column and leap, a minimum of, momentarily, into first place within the division, and hopefully set up some type of basis on which to make a run to the playoffs.

Which of them will get again to their profitable methods? We’ll discover out quickly sufficient. Before we break down the matchup, this is how you may watch this night’s contest.

How to watch

Date: Thursday, Sept. 22 | Time: 8:20 pm ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Browns -4.5, O/U 38.5

When the Steelers have the ball

Pittsburgh’s offense is in main hassle. Through two video games, the Steelers have managed simply 510 yards, thirtieth within the NFL. On a per-play foundation, they really rank thirty first. They’re twenty sixth in factors per drive, twenty ninth in Tru Media’s EPA per play, and twenty second in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA.

Most of the problems start alongside the offensive line, the place issues are fairly dire. They merely can not generate any push in any way within the run sport. They have one of many league’s highest first-down run charges (50 %), and on these performs they’ve averaged simply 2.9 yards per rush. Despite going through eight-man containers on solely 18 % of runs, the Steelers have averaged simply 1.30 yards earlier than contact per try. On performs the place Najee Harris was the ball-carrier (as opposed to Mitchell Trubisky, Jaylen Warren, or Chase Claypool), that determine is even worse — simply 0.44 per try.

But Harris, who handled a Lisfranc damage throughout coaching camp and injured his foot once more in Week 1, simply would not look wholesome. Among the 44 gamers with a minimum of 15 rush makes an attempt this season, he ranks thirty second in prevented deal with charge and thirty first in yards after contact per try. Last season, he ranked seventh in prevented deal with charge and twenty first in yards after contact among the many 53 gamers with 100 carries or extra.

The Browns have yielded solely 3.77 yards per rush up to now this season, and a ridiculous 0.33 earlier than contact. The thought of ​​the Steelers discovering dashing success on this sport, given how issues have gone up to now this yr, appears somewhat far-fetched. And that places the sport in Trubisky’s arms, which is … not nice.

Trubisky is 42 of 71 (59.2 %) for 362 yards (5.2 per try), two touchdowns, and one interception up to now this season. That’s regardless of a below-average strain charge (28 %) and one of many lowest blitz charges within the league (20 %). He’s thrown into a decent window on 22.5 % of his passes, in accordance to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats, and has been astray together with his throws 16.7 % of the time, per Tru Media. He has failed to discover a reference to explosive rookie George Pickens, who has been on the sphere for 78 % of the crew’s offensive snaps however has been focused solely 5 instances. His numbers with the opposite pass-catchers aren’t a lot better: Claypool has eight receptions for simply 44 yards on 12 targets. Diontae Johnson is down a career-low 8.6 yards per reception. Pat Freiermuth’s catch charge is down to 52.9 % (from 75.9 a yr in the past).

This shouldn’t be a tenable state of affairs for an offense, and there is no purpose to count on that it’s going to get higher any time quickly. The time for Pickett is coming, maybe as quickly as tonight if Trubisky struggles. With a mini-bye earlier than the crew’s Week 4 sport in opposition to the Jets, there may be most likely no higher alternative to make the swap.

If Trubisky (or Pickett) can work out a manner to strive to push the ball down the sphere, there may truly be some alternatives out there. Cleveland has allowed extra completions on throws of 20-plus air yards than any crew within the NFL besides the Jaguars, regardless of having performed in opposition to Baker Mayfield and Joe Flacco. Getting the ball downfield usually requires time within the pocket, although, and the extra time within the pocket, the extra alternative for the protection to generate strain. Cleveland ranks seventh within the NFL in strain charge up to now this season, with Myles Garrett main the best way. Trubisky has lengthy been wildly vulnerable to strain, and would somewhat do away with the ball rapidly and in brief areas than take his possibilities with rushers in his face. For these causes, he appears much more possible to proceed concentrating on beneath throws, and thus to create few — if any — explosive performs.

When the Browns have the ball

Predictably, the Browns have run the ball early and infrequently, and with nice success. The Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt duo is among the NFL’s finest, and has powered the Browns to 5.28 yards per carry regardless of going through eight-man containers on the second-highest charge within the NFL (33 % of carries, per Tru Media). They have an NFL-best 12 runs of 15 yards or extra, good for a league-high 15.8 % share of their whole carries.

The capability to generate explosives within the run sport is especially necessary, as a result of the move sport is extra of a possession-based, move-the-chains sort of unit in the meanwhile, with Jacoby Brissett below middle. Pittsburgh has achieved a robust job in opposition to the run up to now this season, however has additionally performed in opposition to two comparatively weak offensive traces (Cincinnati, New England) in contrast to the one it’ll face in opposition to Cleveland on Thursday evening. Without TJ Watt, the Steelers could be extra vulnerable to the bottom assault than it has been up to now, now that it is tasked with going up in opposition to one of many league’s finest run-blocking models.

Of course, the Steelers are not any slouches up entrance — even sans Watt. They nonetheless deliver Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, Alex Highsmith, and even Malik Reed to the desk. They can nonetheless get after the quarterback and get him to the bottom or just hold him boxed into the pocket, the place he’ll have to take care of heavy strain.

The Browns will certainly strive to get Jacoby Brissett on the transfer with play-action and bootleg ideas, with the one main downfield perimeter they’ve in the meanwhile is Amari Cooper. Tight finish David Njoku, an elite athlete, has seen his snap charge rise after getting a giant contract this offseason, however has but to turn out to be considerably extra concerned within the passing sport. It’s tempting to say this could be an excellent week to lastly get him going, however he could have to take care of the main target of Minkah Fitzpatrick for a lot of the night. Fitzpatrick is off to a terrific begin to the season with two interceptions in as many weeks, and he covers as a lot of the again finish of the sphere as any security in soccer. Any Brissett move to his deep half of the sphere is liable to get picked if it is remotely off-target.

In the top, this sport appears possible to come down to a matter of belief during which offense can have any measure of success in transferring the ball. Given the relative energy of Cleveland’s run sport compared to any side of Pittsburgh’s offense, that is the best way now we have to lean.

Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 13

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