Thursday Night Football Preview: Steelers, Browns meet for 142nd time with an early AFC North lead on the line

Thursday Night Football Preview: Steelers, Browns meet for 142nd time with an early AFC North lead on the line

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) 

Time/TV: 7:15pm CT/Stream on Prime Video

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns began their rivalry in 1950 and have played 141 times since. Cleveland won the first eight matchups between the two, but Pittsburgh has dominated the series for the most part since. All-time, the Steelers lead the series 79-61-1. During Ben Roethlisberger’s tenure at quarterback, the Steelers more often than not owned Cleveland, going 27-4-1 against their divisional rivals since 2004. 

This season, the quarterbacks in charge of both offenses are different – Jacoby Brissett took over for the Browns after Baker Mayfield was traded to Carolina, and the Steelers have turned to Mitch Trubisky to take over after Roethlisberger’s retirement. Thus far, the teams have combined to play four games – all determined by three or fewer points. 

Cleveland had their sights set on 2-0 before an unbelievable collapse left them with a loss at the hands of the Jets last weekend. The Browns led 30-17 with less than 90 seconds left, with fans heading toward the exits in a good mood that an unlikely turn of events would soon ruin. Pittsburgh fell in Week 2 as well, 17-14 at the hands of New England in a game that never saw their offense get much traction at all. 

Both teams will lean on their defense and run game in this one, as Najee Harris tries to find his 2022 footing while Nick Chubb aims to build on an incredible three-touchdown performance last week. Pittsburgh has forced six turnovers through two games, and they’ll likely need to create more havoc to win as an underdog in Cleveland. They might succeed if they can force the Browns into passing downs with solid run defense. Cleveland’s offense has seen significantly more success than Pittsburgh’s through two games, though – and if the Browns do get ahead in the game, the Nick Chubb train could keep the clock moving and make it hard for the Steelers to climb back into it. 

With the entire AFC East division sitting at either 1-1 or 0-2, first place in the standings is up for grabs on Thursday night. After years of repeatedly losing in the rivalry, Cleveland fans will be chomping at the bit to make life miserable for the Steelers. 

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