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NFL Thursday Night Football Preview – Week 14: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers and Browns
Gregory Shamus, Jason Miller / Getty Images

Thursday, Dec. 8

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:20 PM

This AFC North matchup finds Pittsburgh (9-3) hosting a Browns team that yielded 290 rushing yards to the Ravens last Sunday. The Steelers prefer to move the ball through the air, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may be challenged by the Browns, whose NFL-best pass defense gives up just 173.3 yards per game.

Earlier this week, Pittsburgh suggested it will use a no-huddle offense at times to keep Cleveland from adjusting. Whether by rush or pass, the Steelers time of possession is 32:46 per game on average, second-best in the NFL.  Keeping the Steelers from scoring will be important to the Browns because Cleveland’s offense only scores 14.6 per game.

Cleveland (4-8) gains just 290.7 yards per game on offense, 30th in the league., while Pittsburgh’s defense gives up the fewest yards per game in the NFL (273.8). The Steelers rank second behind the Browns in pass defense, so Cleveland must get production from running back Peyton Hillis. Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy, who has been sacked 29 times already this season, figures to see many blitzes when he does drop back to pass. The Browns’ Josh Cribbs has three kickoff returns for touchdowns against the Steelers in his career.

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