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Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Preview and Predictions 10-18-2020

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AFC North matchups between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are always heated given the teams' proximity and history, but things could be heightened in the newest version of the rivalry Sunday at Heinz Field.

This time, both teams are having strong seasons after Cleveland (4-1) has manned the struggling side of the equation for years. Pittsburgh (4-0) will be aiming to remain unbeaten.

Also this time, there could be a marquee matchup of quarterbacks.

The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, 38, has bounced back from elbow surgery a year ago, while Baker Mayfield, 25, seems to be blossoming into the franchise quarterback the Browns have been seeking for years.

"Coming back from an injury, not playing last year, I was a little worried about my play and what was going to happen," said Roethlisberger, who has thrown for 10 touchdowns and one interception. "I am just glad we are winning football games."

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski doesn't see a dropoff in the presumptive future Hall of Famer. "He's a problem for defenses," he said of Roethlisberger. "Coming back off of injury, he looks outstanding to me."

Mayfield came out of last weekend's 32-23 win over Indianapolis with tender ribs and was limited in practice Wednesday, saying he was "sore ... but that is why we have the rest of the week until game day."

The Steelers are well aware of the rib problem.

"It's up to us to make him think about that injury at the end of the day," Pittsburgh defensive end Cam Heyward said.

The Steelers have the NFL's No. 3-ranked defense, something that does not deter Mayfield.

"It's a great test for us," he said. "They bring the physical challenge. They'll hit you and try to impose their will, but that's what our division is all about. We have to play that ball and match that energy and then exceed it."

During their four-game winning streak, the Browns have scored at least 30 points, the first time they have reached that total in four straight games since 1968.

Protecting Mayfield would seem to be a priority. He has been sacked just seven times in five games. Pittsburgh leads the league with an average of five sacks a game.

Perhaps more than Heyward, the Browns will need to try to contain outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, who have combined for 7 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.

"They rush with violence," Stefanski said. "It's a very impressive, formidable scheme."

Watt (shoulder), like Mayfield, was limited in practice Wednesday but seems likely to play.

Also for the Steelers, guard David DeCastro (abdomen), center Maurkice Pouncey (foot) and receiver Diontae Johnson (back) didn't practice Wednesday but all three are candidates to practice later in the week and play. Less clear is the status of receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and tight end Eric Ebron (hand). Neither practiced Wednesday.

For Cleveland, in addition to Mayfield, safeties Ronnie Harrison (concussion) and Karl Joseph (hamstring) and receiver Jarvis Landry (hips/ribs) were out Wednesday, although Stefanski said he expects Landry to return to practice this week. Running back Kareem Hunt (thigh), who has been carrying the load with Nick Chubb hurt, was limited Wednesday.

--Field Level Media

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Heinz Field
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Capacity: 65,050

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Last Injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Chris Wormley

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Wormley is hobbled by a knee injury, and it remains to be seen if he will participate in Sunday's game versus the Ravens.

  • Stefen Wisniewski

    Pectoral
    Ques Sun | I-R

    Wisniewski has hit the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list with a pectoral injury, and the team has one week in order to activate him.

  • Maurkice Pouncey

    Elbow
    Prob Sun | probable

    Pouncey is nursing an elbow injury, but he is expected to be active Sunday versus the Ravens.

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Smith-Schuster has a knee injury, but it is likely that he will line up Sunday against the Ravens.

  • Alejandro Villanueva

    Elbow
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Villanueva is battling an elbow injury, and it is undetermined if he will be in Sunday's lineup versus the Ravens.

  • Derek Watt

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Watt missed the last game with hamstring discomfort, and it is unclear if he will be available for Sunday's matchup against the Ravens.

  • Eric Ebron

    Elbow
    Prob Sun | probable

    Ebron is hampered by an elbow injury, but he is projected to take the field against the Ravens on Sunday.

  • Mike Hilton

    Shoulder
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hilton was held out of the previous game with a shoulder injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up for Sunday's contest versus the Ravens.

Cleveland Browns

  • K'Waun Williams

    Knee
    Ques Sun | I-R

    Williams has been ticketed for the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list due to a sprained ACL in his knee, and it is unclear if he will be activated in time for Sunday's game versus the Seahawks.

  • JC Tretter

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Tretter was forced from the previous game with a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will be on the field Sunday versus the Raiders.

  • Wyatt Teller

    Calf
    Doub Sun | doubtful

    Teller has sat out the last two games with a calf injury, and he is unlikely to be ready for Sunday's contest versus the Raiders.

  • Jacob Phillips

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Phillips has been absent from the previous two contests with a knee injury, and it is undetermined if he will suit up against the Raiders on Sunday.

  • M.J. Stewart Jr.

    Back
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Stewart Jr. is tending to a back injury, and it is up in the air if it will hinder his availability against the Raiders on Sunday.

  • Austin Hooper

    Appendix
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hooper sat out the previous game after undergoing an appendectomy. It has yet to be established if he will face the Raiders on Sunday.

  • Kareem Hunt

    Ribs
    Prob Sun | probable

    Hunt is expected to be available Sunday against the Raiders despite injured ribs.

  • Jarvis Landry

    Hip
    Prob Sun | probable

    Landry is expected to be active Sunday against the Raiders despite hip and rib injuries.