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Steelers-Browns II: A rivalry renewed?

It isn't personal, it's business.

Specifically, it's AFC North business, which is the attention-getting aspect of the seemingly revived rivalry the Steelers and Browns will resume contesting on Sunday in Cleveland.

"I don't think I have anything against the city of Cleveland," Steelers tight end Heath Miller admitted. "Although every time we go there it rains or snows, I guess I don't like that about it. But it's earlier this year so I think it's safe to say it won't snow. We'll see, though, we'll see."

The anticipated relatively favorable conditions and the October arrival date aren't the only aspects of the Steelers' upcoming trip to Northeast Ohio that suggest a different connotation to Browns-Steelers the second time around in 2014.

The Steelers are 3-2 and will be welcomed on Sunday by a 2-2 Browns team that wiped out a 24-point, second-half deficit and came up just shy of an upset when visiting Pittsburgh in September.

The Browns also are coming off of an NFL-record 25-point road rally in last Sunday's 29-28 triumph at Tennessee.

Like the Steelers, the Browns have designs on winning the AFC North Division championship. And like the Steelers, the Browns are in position to do something about it.

The Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the game against the Cleveland Browns.

That should make for a combative atmosphere on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"Especially division games, you see the same guys twice every year, you're always fighting for the same thing," Miller continued. "Obviously, you treat every game the same, but I'm sure there are some relationships that are built during the course of those (division) games."

The Steelers have won four in a row, 26 of the last 29, and 27 of 32 since the Browns' franchise resurrection in 1999. But they're noticing a different tone associated with this season's rematch.

"This is as big of a game, probably, in Cleveland in a while," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger observed. "Just because of their record, our record, us coming in there, AFC North (and) the rivalry that's there. I anticipate it being a hostile environment, maybe like nothing I've ever seen up there before."

The Browns certainly sound energized.

"I think there's a good vibe going around," Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "I think there are a lot of people in this city who want to believe in this team. I think we've given them a glimpse of what we can be as a team, and I think we're giving them hope.

"Typically when we play the Steelers the second time around since I've been here we're already out of the playoffs and Pittsburgh is resting their players because they've got a first-round bye. I think this is kind of a nice change of pace from those types of lopsided games we've been involved in in the past."

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau maintained that results are one thing and how they're achieved is quite another when it comes to Browns-Steelers.

"I think they've been competitive," LeBeau said. "They've had a lot of good players. Even though the won-lost total may not be indicative of really close competition if you look at those games, but if you were in those games and on the sideline for those games, you know that 99 percent of them were hard-fought, tough contests because there really isn't much love lost between these two teams.

"That always leads to a very close, hard-fought game."

OUT: LB Ryan Shazier (knee), CB Ike Taylor (forearm), S Shamarko Thomas (hamstring).
PROBABLE: DE Brett Keisel (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), FS Mike Mitchell (not injury related), S Troy Polamalu (not injury related).

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