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Cheat Sheet: Steelers vs. Browns

How To Watch & Listen

  • Game Coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. ET.
  • TV: Broadcast on NBC, locally on WPXI-TV, and on peacock
  • Radio: Steelers Radio Network (WDVE, SNR in Pittsburgh).
  • Complete coverage details >>>

Playoff History

  • Pittsburgh leads the NFL in all-time playoff births (30) and Division titles (23) since the AFL-NFL merger.
  • The Steelers have appeared in the second-most playoff games all-time with 60 games played entering this postseason.
  • Pittsburgh ranks second in all-time postseason wins with 36, trailing only the New England Patriots (37) for most all-time.
  • The Steelers have appeared in 11 Wild Card games to date, owning a 6-5 record overall.
  • Pittsburgh's last Wild Card appearance came at the end of the 2006 NFL season and featured a 30-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
  • Ben Roethlisberger enters the game with the most playoff appearances in Steelers history, playing in 21 career postseason games (13-8).
  • Mike Tomlin has coached the Steelers in 15 playoff games in his career.
  • The Steelers are 8-7 in the playoffs with Tomlin at the helm, with four of the seven losses coming by six points or less.

Status Report

  • The Steelers activated guard Matt Feiler and linebacker Robert Spillane to the 53-man roster from the reserve/injured list and promoted tight end Kevin Rader from the practice squad on Saturday.
  • Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was added to the injury report on Thursday with a knee injury, was a full participant to end the week.
  • Defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, also added to the injury report for the first time on Thursday with an illness, but was able to practice in full on Friday
  • Safety Terrell Edmunds (shoulder), cornerback Steven Nelson (knee), nose tackle Tyson Alualu (ankle) and linebacker Vince Williams (quad) were all full participants to end the week, sending the Steelers into the game in good shape health-wise.
  • Complete Injury/Status Report >>>

Facts From NFL Research (@NFLResearch):

  • Sunday will mark the 15th time in NFL history teams have played back-to-back on Week 17 and on Wild Card Weekend, with the last instance being the Packers and Vikings playing back-to-back games to end the 2012 season.
  • The Browns enter Wild Card Weekend with a perfect 7-0 record in games which Baker Mayfield records a passer rating of 100 or higher.
  • Mayfield is 2-3 against the Steelers in his career, with both wins coming in games in which Ben Roethlisberger did not play
  • T.J. Watt is the 3rd player to lead the NFL in sacks and make the playoffs in the last 5 seasons (also LAR Aaron Donald 2018 & ATL Vic Beasley 2016) - the previous two players both made the Super Bowl (both lost).
  • This is the first time the Steelers made the playoffs without an 800+ yd rusher since 2008 (leading rusher was Willie Parker – 791 yds)
  • Ben Roethlisberger will enter the game looking to record his 14th career postseason victory, which would tie him for 3rd-most in NFL history with Terry Bradshaw, John Elway and Peyton Manning

The Matchup

The Steelers and Browns have squared off twice already this season, splitting the series in two wildly different games.
First meeting - Week 6, Steelers 38, Browns 7 - Read the game recap >>>

  • The Week 6 matchup featured a dominant performance by the Pittsburgh defense, getting to Browns QB Baker Mayfield early and often to the tune of four sacks (Mayfield would leave the game in the third quarter with an injury).
  • The Pittsburgh defense also pitched in on the scoreboard courtesy of a pick-six by S Minkah Fitzpatrick on the Browns first offensive possession of the game.
  • The Steelers offense was getting it done on the ground as RB James Conner racked up 101 yards and touchdown on the day and featured short rushing touchdowns from RB Benny Snell and WR Chase Claypool.
  • The Week 6 win propelled the Steelers to a 5-0 record for just the second time in franchise history.

Second Meeting - Week 17, Browns 24, Steelers 22 - Read the game recap>>>

  • The Week 17 matchup with the Browns did not feature QB Ben Roethlisberger, LB T.J. Watt, DT Cam Heyward, C Maurkice Pouncey among others for rest purposes.
  • Mason Rudolph started at the helm of the Steelers in the game, splitting time with fellow QB Josh Dobbs.
  • Pittsburgh's offense got off to a slow start, converting three field goals in the first three quarters, before turning it on in the fourth and scoring two touchdowns through the air.
  • The Steelers defense held the Browns offense in check most of the game, with the exception of a 47-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb.

Series History

  • The Wild Card matchup between the Steelers and Browns will be the 3rd post season meeting between the two squads (139th overall).
  • Pittsburgh holds a 77-60-1 advantage in the series overall and a 2-0 record in the post season.
  • The last post season meeting between the two squads came in the 2002 AFC Wild Card round and ended in a 36-33 victory for the Steelers.
  • Pittsburgh has not lost a pair of games to Cleveland in a single season since 1988.

What To Watch For from Steelers Media Network Members

Bob Labriola - Editor

  1. Finish with a "plus" in turnover ratio. It's not necessarily imperative not to turn the ball over at all, but if that happens it must be balanced by at least one more takeaway than turnover.
  2. Do a better job of controlling Nick Chubb and the running game than happened in the regular season finale. If the Browns can rely on the run, their offense won't have to do anything that plays into the strengths of the Steelers defense (pressuring the QB and taking the ball away).
  3. Make the Browns defend the whole field, both horizontally and vertically, with your offensive play selection.

Arthur Moats – Former Steelers LB and Co-Host of SNR's Steelers Blitz
NFL Super Wild Card Weekend is officially here and we could not have asked for a better matchup. Fresh off being named 1st Team All-Pro for the second time in his career, look for TJ Watt to make his presence felt early and often. Throughout TJ's career he has dominated the Browns with some of his most productive games coming against them. Look for that to continue as he battles against Jack Conklin in Prime Time!

Mike Prisuta - Steelers Radio Network Host

  1. As JuJu Smith-Schuster suggested via encouragement the offense received from Ben Roethlisberger, "Hit first, hit harder, hit fast." That'll work on defense and special teams, too.
  2. Contain Baker: Browns QB Baker Mayfield is big-play capable on the ground scrambling/running to his left and through the air scrambling/running to his right. Keep him in the pocket at all costs.
  3. Acknowledge Garrett: Browns DE Myles Garrett is a potential game-wrecking presence. Chip him, double-team him, throw it quickly so he can't get to the quarterback, whatever is necessary. Make somebody else on the Browns' defense beat the Steelers.

Craig Wolfley - Steelers Radio Network Color Analyst
Wash, rinse and repeat last week's first key to the game. Job one is to stop the Nick Chubb outside/inside zone express train. If anyone is unconvinced at this point, simply rewind last week's game in Cleveland, go to the Browns first series from scrimmage, and on the sixth play, watch Chubb zip-doo-dah his way for 47-yards and a touchdown, leaving several Steelers defenders in his wake. The edge-setter can't be hooked, those in gaps have to stay square, and no whiffing on the tackles. Next, it's important that Big Ben picks up where Mason Rudolph left off, and continue to throw deep. Mason had three hookups over 40-yards each. As of now, the Browns #1 CB Denzel Ward's availability is unknown, as is fellow CB Kevin Johnson. Chase Claypool has the afterburners, hands and size to threaten the safeties, stretch the zone windows underneath, and the strength to override any DB's attempts at playing butt ball along the sidelines. The key here is, "Rip the top off the coverage, Chase, just rip it off."