Pre-Game Show presented by House of Steel
Thursday Night Primetime Special on the NFL Network
Cleveland Browns (4-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA
Hello everyone, welcome to Heinz Field for a thriller tonight. The Cleveland Browns come to Heinz Field ready to extract revenge on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The last meeting a few weeks ago proved to be a heart breaker once again for the Browns as Ben Roethlisberger led his team on a game winning drive with a shovel pass to Willie Parker to seal the game in Cleveland. Tonight, the Browns have question marks on their squad.
First off, the status of Quarterback Charlie Frye. He did not participate in practice Tuesday. This is leaving him at questionable for this matchup and a uncertainty for Cleveland. If Frye can't play tonight, the Browns will turn backup Derek Anderson who came in and rallied the Browns to a 31-28 overtime victory against the Chiefs this past Sunday. Anderson had never thrown a pass in the NFL before riding in to the rescue. His chances are looking very good with only one full day of practice in a shortened work week. Of course, the Steelers scored 21 4th Quarter points to clip them 24-20 in Cleveland on the 19th of November.
Frye was so desperate in wanting to play this game for revenge, although, we all know, he will not be playing in my opinion. His status of his wrist is a bone bruise. If it was anywhere else on his body but on the wrist, he would definitely be playing. Frye is a very strong-willed, who has been sacked 43 times and is holding out hope to heal quickly.
Now we turn to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the big story of this game is that status of Wide Receiver Hines Ward and Safety Troy Polamalu, both of them are out for the second game in a row cause of knee injuries.
Ward, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver who previously missed only one game in his nine-season career, had surgery last week to remove several bone fragments from his left knee. Polamalu, an All-Pro safety last season, has a sprained medial collateral ligament.
Also, partly because of the short week of preparation before the Browns game, coach Bill Cowher said Tuesday that both starting wide receivers and safeties won't play. Also out are receiver Cedrick Wilson (ankle) and safety Ryan Clark (groin), both of whom were hurt against Tampa Bay.
Because of the injuries, second-year wide receiver Nate Washington and rookie Santonio Holmes will start, as will rookie safety Anthony Smith and veteran backup Tyrone Carter. Holmes and Smith were the Steelers' top two draft picks in April.
This game will really become a big test for the depth for the Steelers.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
- KEEP THE BALL OUT OF BEN'S HAND AND THE OFFENSE: This is what killed the Browns in the last meeting allowing Ben go wild and throw on confidence. This is a breaking bone for any defense. The Browns must force 3 and out.
- CONTAIN PARKER: Willie Parker biggest games this season has happened at home. The Browns must plug the holes and keep the OL from gaining ground on the DL.
- Contain Derek Anderson: This should be a very easy task for the Steelers since Anderson has never faced the Steelers. Pressuring him in the pocket will probably expose his greatest weakness.
- RECEIVERS must step up: With Ward and Wilson out, Washington and Holmes are the key to the successful victory in this game, if they play well, the Steelers will have a great chance to pull the victory off.
Cleveland has a lot of question marks in this game, we are in Pittsburgh and the fans will rally behind Ben and Company. This game got Steelers written all over it. Should be a Steelers victory easily.
Pittsburgh 31 Cleveland 3.