Three key elements to a Browns win over the Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s the 10-5 Cleveland Browns against the 12-3 AFC North Champion Steelers on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium with the chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The formula for the Browns is simple: win and be in the 2020 playoffs. When I asked Kevin Stefanski what it would mean to win this game, he simply replied, “It means we can keep playing.” You have to love this unique focus from your head coach and there is no doubt he is right. The playoffs arrived early in Cleveland as the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher.

On the other side of the ball, the Steelers have won the AFC North and are anchored in the AFC playoff picture (in the worst case) in 3-seed mode. Steeler’s trainer Mike Tomlin has already announced that he will seat QB Ben Roethlisberger and C Maurkice Pouncey as well as defensive stars TJ Watt and Cam Heyward. As the week progresses, more of the best Steelers might get the day off, but honestly, for the Browns, this game is all about them. The Browns need to get out and run quickly to secure the all-important reward for a wonderful season with a playoff spot.

You can find out how to do this in this week’s Winning Mix below.

1. Start quickly

When they first met against the Steelers, the Browns tossed a pick-six into their opening possession and quickly found themselves in a double-digit hole. As this week’s Matchup to Watch showed, the sales battle is directly related to the Browns’ success in 2020. A quick start to the first half is also directly related to the Browns’ tendency to emerge victorious this season as well. The Browns haven’t lost a single game at halftime this year and are 9-0 up.

This week the Steelers will play against the Browns, but they are clearly focused on the postseason as many key starters for their team begin the game. Help everyone get their attention to the postseason early in the game by taking a nice big lead early on. Give Tomlin the reason to quickly get to grips with the remaining key pieces for a possible postseason in Pittsburgh by showing beyond a doubt that they stand no chance of beating the Browns in this game. There is no team in the NFL more effective than the Browns when they get off to a quick start, and this is the week to do so emphatically. Slap the Steelers in the mouth early and hit your ticket to the playoffs.

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