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 competition, because the Cleveland Browns play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of these teams are coming off dispiriting losses a week ago, after they had picked up victories in the final moments in Week 1.

The Browns blew a double-digit lead in the last two minutes of their game against the Jets, while the Steelers barely moved the ball all day against the Patriots. Each of these teams is looking to get back in the win column and leap, at least, momentarily, into first place in the division, and hopefully establish some sort of foundation on which to make a run to the playoffs. 

Which of them will get back to their winning ways? We’ll find out soon enough. Before we break down the matchup, here’s how you can watch this evening’s contest.  

How to watch

Date: Thursday, Sept. 22 | Time: 8:20 p.m. 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 primary bother. Through two video games, the Steelers have controlled simply 510 yards, thirtieth within the NFL. On a per-play foundation, they in reality rank thirty first. They’re twenty sixth in issues in keeping with pressure, twenty ninth in Tru Media’s EPA in keeping with play, and twenty second in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA. 

Most of the problems start alongside the offensive line, the place issues are lovely dire. They merely can not generate any push in any way within the run recreation. They have probably the most league’s absolute best first-down run charges (50 %), and on the ones performs have averaged simply 2.9 yards in keeping with rush. Despite going through eight-man containers on simplest 18 % of runs, the Steelers have averaged simply 1.30 yards prior to touch in keeping with strive. On performs the place Najee Harris used to be the ball-carrier (as adversarial to Mitchell Trubisky, Jaylen Warren, or Chase Claypool), that determine is even worse — simply 0.44 in keeping with strive.

But Harris, who handled a Lisfranc damage all the way through coaching camp and injured his foot once more in Week 1, simply does now not glance wholesome. Among the 44 avid gamers with no less than 15 rush makes an attempt this season, he ranks thirty second in have shyed away from take on price and thirty first in yards after touch in keeping with strive. Last season, he ranked 7th in have shyed away from take on price and twenty first in yards after touch a few of the 53 avid gamers with 100 carries or extra. 

The Browns have yielded simplest 3.77 yards in keeping with rush thus far this season, and a ludicrous 0.33 prior to touch. The thought of the Steelers discovering speeding luck on this recreation, given how issues have long gone thus far this yr, turns out fairly far-fetched. And that places the sport in Trubisky’s fingers, which is … now not nice. 

Trubisky is 42 of 71 (59.2 %) for 362 yards (5.2 in keeping with strive), two touchdowns, and one interception thus far this season. That’s in spite of a below-average force price (28 %) and probably the most lowest blitz charges within the league (20 %). He’s thrown into a decent window on 22.5 % of his passes, in accordance to’s Next Gen Stats, and has been astray together with his throws 16.7 % of the time, in keeping with Tru Media. He has failed to discover a reference to explosive rookie George Pickens, who has been at the box for 78 % of the group’s offensive snaps however has been focused simplest 5 instances. His numbers with the opposite pass-catchers don’t seem to be a lot better: Claypool has 8 receptions for simply 44 yards on 12 goals. Diontae Johnson is down a career-low 8.6 yards in keeping with reception. Pat Freiermuth’s catch price is down to 52.9 % (from 75.9 a yr in the past). 

This isn’t a tenable state of affairs for an offense, and there is not any explanation why to be expecting that it is going to get well any time quickly. The time for Pickett is coming, possibly once this night if Trubisky struggles. With a mini-bye prior to the group’s Week 4 recreation towards the Jets, there may be most probably no higher alternative to make the transfer. 

If Trubisky (or Pickett) can determine some way to check out to push the ball down the sphere, there may in reality be some alternatives to be had. Cleveland has allowed extra completions on throws of 20-plus air yards than any group within the NFL except for the Jaguars, in spite of having performed towards Baker Mayfield and Joe Flacco. Getting the ball downfield normally calls for time within the pocket, although, and the extra time within the pocket, the extra alternative for the protection to generate force. Cleveland ranks 7th within the NFL in force price thus far this season, with Myles Garrett main the way in which. Trubisky has lengthy been wildly vulnerable to force, and would a ways fairly do away with the ball briefly and briefly spaces than take his probabilities with rushers in his face. For the ones causes, he turns out a ways much more likely to proceed concentrated 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 continuously, and with nice luck. The Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt duo is without doubt one of the NFL’s splendid, and has powered the Browns to 5.28 yards in keeping with raise in spite of going through eight-man containers on the second-highest price within the NFL (33 % of carries, in keeping with Tru Media). They have an NFL-best 12 runs of 15 yards or extra, excellent for a league-high 15.8 % proportion in their general carries. 

The talent to generate explosives within the run recreation is especially essential, for the reason that move recreation is extra of a possession-based, move-the-chains form of unit these days, with Jacoby Brissett below heart. Pittsburgh has executed a powerful task towards the run thus far this season, however has additionally performed towards two reasonably susceptible offensive traces (Cincinnati, New England) when put next to the only it is going to face towards Cleveland on Thursday night time. Without T.J. Watt, the Steelers could be extra vulnerable to the bottom assault than it’s been thus far, now that it is tasked with going up towards probably the most league’s splendid run-blocking gadgets. 

Of route, the Steelers aren’t any slouches up entrance — even sans Watt. They nonetheless carry Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, Alex Highsmith, or even Malik Reed to the desk. They can nonetheless get after the quarterback and get him to the bottom or just stay him boxed into the pocket, the place he will have to maintain heavy force. 

The Browns will unquestionably check out to get Jacoby Brissett at the movement with play-action and bootleg ideas, with the one primary downfield perimeter they’ve these days is Amari Cooper. Tight finish David Njoku, an elite athlete, has noticed his snap price upward thrust once you have a large contract this offseason, however has but to grow to be considerably extra concerned within the passing recreation. It’s tempting to say this may be a excellent week to in any case get him going, however he can have to maintain the focal point of Minkah Fitzpatrick for a lot of the night time. Fitzpatrick is off to an awesome get started 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 protection in soccer. Any Brissett move to his deep part of the sphere is liable to get picked if it is remotely off-target. 

In the tip, this recreation turns out most likely to come down to an issue of consider during which offense may have any measure of luck in shifting the ball. Given the relative power of Cleveland’s run recreation when put next to any side of Pittsburgh’s offense, that is the manner we now have to lean. 

Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 13


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