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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
The Browns are heavy underdogs at Pittsburgh Sunday, as a team with two injured quarterbacks that may be left to turn to a rookie (Colt McCoy) or a player re-signed just Tuesday (Brett Ratliff) ought to be. And look, if the Steelers win big, no one will be surprised. That's probably the most likely outcome Sunday if neither QB Seneca Wallace nor Jake Delhomme is available. The Browns could have a big, big problem at quarterback, and that's going to be the salient decision-making point for many picking a winner in this game, and as it should be.
That said, if you believe the Steelers are going to rout the Browns, you have to keep this in mind: Cleveland has three losses by seven points or less, and Eric Mangini's club was game in its 10-point defeat to Atlanta on Sunday.
There's another factor to consider: The Browns beat the Steelers when the teams last met back in December 2009 — and did it doing the following: 1) rushing for 171 yards, with WR Joshua Cribbs racking up 87 yards on just eight carries; 2) sacking QB Ben Roethlisberger eight times and 3) getting all of 90 yards passing from QB Brady Quinn, who completed just 6-of-19 passes.
The Browns' upset of Pittsburgh came out of nowhere; they were 1-11 when they surprised the Steelers. Yes, Pittsburgh is playing better than it did a season ago, but so is Cleveland.
Beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh will be a tall order, and it's still very unlikely, but Cleveland has a very recent history lesson to refer to when game-planning under tough circumstances. If the Browns are sound, and if the Steelers make a few mistakes, Cleveland could give its division rival a game. But a sloppy game from Cleveland, and this could get out of hand.