Browns facing win-and-in scenario against rival Steelers

PITTSBURGH (12-3) at CLEVELAND (10-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE – Browns by 10

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Steelers 9-6; Browns 6-9

SERIES RECORD – Steelers lead 77-59-1

LAST MEETING – Steelers beat Browns 38-7 on Oct. 18 in Pittsburgh

LAST WEEK – Steelers beat Colts 28-24; Browns lost to Jets 23-16

AP PRO32 RANKING – Steelers No. 6, Browns No. 12

STEELERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (24), RUSH (32), PASS (16).

STEELERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (2), PASS (8).

BROWNS OFFENSE – OVERALL (16), RUSH (4), PASS (24).

BROWNS DEFENSE – OVERALL (17, RUSH (13), PASS (20).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — There are storylines galore as the AFC North rivals meet with a playoff spot hanging in the balance for Cleveland. … The Browns will earn their first playoff appearance since 2002 with a win. There are other routes for Cleveland to make the postseason, but a win would end the NFL’s current longest drought. … Cleveland has spent the week being disrupted by COVID-19 cases and close contact tracing. … Pittsburgh is 36-7-1 against Cleveland since 1999. Pittsburgh is 15-5-1 in Cleveland since the Browns returned in 1999. … After clinching the AFC North and snapping a three-game slide last week with a win over Indianapolis, the Steelers are resting QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is 23-2-1 in his career against the Browns. … The Steelers are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC but can move up to second with a win and a Buffalo loss to Miami. … Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will also sit league sacks leader T.J. Watt, DT Cam Heyward and C Maurkice Pouncey. … Mason Rudolph will start for Roethlisberger and face Browns DE Myles Garrett for the first time in Cleveland since their infamous scuffle last season. Garrett was suspended six games for striking Rudolph in the head with a swung helmet. Rudolph was fined $50,000. … Rudolph went 5-3 with 13 TD passes and 9 interceptions while filling in for an injured Roethlisberger in 2019. One of the losses was an ugly four-interception performance in Cleveland. … The Steelers will also be without CB Joe Haden and TE Eric Ebron, both of whom were added to the COVID-19 list as the team left for Cleveland. … Pittsburgh dominated the first meeting this season, limiting the Browns to 220 yards and sacking QB Baker Mayfield four times. … Pittsburgh’s 52 sacks lead the NFL, putting the Steelers in a position to top the league a fourth straight seasons. … Watt has 15 sacks, and he’s the first player in Steelers history to have multiple seasons with at least 14. … The Steelers have struggled to run the ball, averaging an NFL-worst 58.2 yards over the last 10 weeks. … Steelers rookie WR Chase Claypool has cooled off since scoring 10 TDs in his first 10 games. Claypool hasn’t reached the end zone since Nov. 22. … Pittsburgh will be without K Chris Boswell, who will miss his second game with a groin injury. … The Browns are getting back several players, including WR Jarvis Landry, who missed last week’s game — the first of his career — due to COVID-19 protocols. Cleveland was without eight rotational players against the Jets. … Cleveland will be without at least five players: top CB Denzel Ward, LBs B.J. Goodson and Malcolm Smith, TE Harrison Bryant and S Anderson Sendejo due to positive tests. Ward is by far the biggest loss. … The Browns will also be down three assistant coaches, including OL coach Bill Callahan. … Mayfield attempted a career-high 53 passes last week. He also fumbled three times, coughing up his last one on a fourth-down sneak late in the game as the Browns were driving for a possible tying TD. … Mayfield threw a pick-6 interception on his first pass against the Steelers in October, setting the tone for a blowout. … Browns RB Nick Chubb is 41 yards short of 1,000. He’s got 11 touchdowns despite missing four games — including the earlier matchup against Pittsburgh — with a sprained knee. … Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the only teammates with at least 800 yards rushing. … Garrett had a sack last week and has 12 this season, tied for second in the AFC. He missed two games with COVID-19. … Browns DT Sheldon Richardson blocked an extra point and field goal last week. … Browns K Cody Parkey missed his fourth extra point vs. Jets and is giving Cleveland fans heart palpitations every time he takes the field. … Fantasy tip: Landry will be raring to go after missing his first game in seven seasons. He leads the Browns with 67 receptions and has been Mayfield’s primary target since Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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