Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns: Week 1 Interview with Still Curtain

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Quarterback DeShone Kizer
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Quarterback DeShone Kizer /

The 2017 regular season is here and the Cleveland Browns will soon be playing meaningful games. To get another perspective for Week 1, we discussed the first game with FanSided’s Still Curtain.

Could the Cleveland Browns knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday? Anything could happen but that would be a tough task to accomplish.

As fans wait for the 1PM EST kickoff, let’s take a look at what Still Curtain’s Site Expert Noah Strackbein had to say about the upcoming Steelers/Browns game.

FoS: Joe Haden‘s play has decreased dramatically over the last couple of seasons. Are you confident he can get back to his old self as one of Cleveland’s most hated rival’s newest players?

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NB: Joe Haden is a totally different player in Pittsburgh. For the first time in his career, he won’t be relied on to cover the No. 1 receiver. Yes, he’s not the same dominate force he once was, but as the second cornerback on the roster, he’s one of the best the league has to offer.

FoS: Should fans expect to see a large number of targets to Sammie Coates against Haden?

NB: Sammie Coates could be the perfect fit in Cleveland. He’s a speedy receiver with great deep field ability — something DeShone Kizer loves.

But, until he fixes his consistency problems, he isn’t reliable enough to be a hot target for anyone in the NFL. Corey Coleman will likely be covered by Haden, and either William Gay or Sean Davis will work against Coates. Either way, he isn’t going to produce much, especially against a secondary who’s practiced against him for two years.

FoS: Le’Veon Bell is officially back, but will see him with the ball 25-30 times on Sunday having not played one snap in the preseason?

NB: Le’Veon Bell will likely only see 15-20 carries in Week 1. If Pittsburgh can take a lead early, they’ll probably pull him and put James Conner in, and without any preseason play this year, Mike Tomlin isn’t willing to give him a full workload in Week 1.

Expect a solid game from Bell, and a decent amount of carries, but nothing close to what he usually gets.

FoS: Which under the radar Browns player either on offense or defense should give the Steelers all that they can handle and then some?

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NB: No one. Cleveland has improved drastically this offseason, but they still don’t have enough pieces to force Pittsburgh’s hand in any aspect. DeShone Kizer might give the Steelers trouble with some long balls, but outside of that, no one should expect the Browns to really push Pittsburgh’s buttons in any way.

A few years from now, maybe that’ll be different, but right now, the Steelers are arguably the most well-rounded team in the NFL.

FoS: Pittsburgh has had Cleveland’s number for years. Is there any way you see the Browns actually knocking off the Steelers Sunday? If so, how?

NB: No. Pittsburgh is a Super Bowl contending team, and Cleveland is still fighting to get out of the bottom 10.

Plus, it’s an AFC North matchup and a game the Steelers know how to win. The Browns have improved and you have to give them credit for making some of the best offseason moves they have in a long time, but at the end of the day, the Steelers are still miles ahead of Cleveland in almost every category.

FoS: Are your expectations that the AFC North will be much improved as a whole thanks to what Cleveland added in the postseason?

NB: The AFC North will be improved, but not because of the Browns. What Cincinnati was able to do on the offensive end by adding John Ross and Joe Mixon, and what Baltimore was able to do with their defense will make it a tough road for Pittsburgh to reclaim the top spot.

I expect the Steelers to still find themselves a few games ahead of second place by the end of the year, but there will definitely be some more competition to pull off the top AFC North spot.

Next: Steelers/Browns: 5 bold predictions


FoS would like to thank Noah for his time and his thoughts on this weekend’s game. Hopefully Week 1 is an exciting and worthwhile game!