Erie, Pennsylvania (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — We have reached the finish line of the regular season. On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up a victory on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, the Steelers are preparing to take on the Cleveland Browns on Jan. 8.
The tables were turned this time around as it was the Steelers that racked up nearly 200 yards rushing. Najee Harris came in strong in the second half with over 100 yards rushing.
In the passing game, the Steelers have had other options start to emerge. Wide receiver Steven Sims had a critical 28-yard catch last week against the Ravens, and other targets like tight end Pat Freiermuth who has more than 60 catches in his first two years in the league. Finally, there’s what Kent calls the “814” connection of quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) to wide receiver George Pickens (14) which will be critical against the Browns.
The offense will need to have all of these connections at full strength as they are playing for a winning record and a potential playoff birth. Their 16-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens brings their record to 8-8 on the season and in position to secure the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Steelers and Browns last met in week three of the season. Both teams will feature different starting quarterbacks from that matchup, with Kenny Pickett over Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson over Jacoby Brissett. Watson returned from his 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy against the Houston Texans in week 12.
The Browns may be eliminated from playoff contention but can still play spoiler for the Steelers, who also need the Buffalo Bills to win against the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets to win against the Miami Dolphins in addition to defeating the Browns to make the playoffs.
The Steelers have found themselves in situations like this before. Back in 2018, they watched as the Browns had to defeat the Ravens to make the playoffs.
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. in Pittsburgh.