Heading into a pivotal Week 11 matchup against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday, news was received earlier today that Browns starting quarterback Deshaun Watson would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
This new development may have fans believing that they have a clear advantage, but his absence could potentially make them harder to figure out.
With Deshaun Watson out for the season, the Browns will be turning to their fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who showcased some of his playmaking abilities in their loss to the Baltimore Ravens back in October. During the preseason, Thompson-Robinson was one of the NFL's top overall performers, accumulating 440 passing yards, 69 rushing yards, and two touchdowns in three games.
Even with this, the Browns run offense should not be ignored, as they are currently second in the NFL behind the Ravens in rushing yards per game (147.9) and tied for third in total rushing yards (1,331). The Steelers should expect a heavy dose of running back Jerome Ford, who gained 107 yards on the ground last week against the Ravens.
For the Steelers defense, it will be about neutralizing their strength on the ground and taking advantage of Watson. Though the task may not seem daunting, they should not make the mistake of overlooking a team that could be as motivated as ever to prove they belong in the playoff picture.