Steelers (6-4) @ Cleveland (2-8) Sunday, Nov. 25, 1 p.m.
While the Steelers have dominated the Browns by winning 16 of the last 17 games, Steelers face some unique challenges Sunday.
Charlie Batch, 37 years old, will be under center with Roethlisberger and Leftwich out with injuries. All three QB's have a combined 21-2 record against Cleveland. In addition, Troy Polamalu is still recuperating from his calf injury although he did practice this week.
Charlie has extensive experience in the league with 15 years under center. He's appeared in 79 career games with 53 career starts. The Steelers have a high degree of confidence in Batch."He has command in this huddle, " said tackle Max Starks. "We have the utmost trust in him, " he added. Charlie has a 5-2 record as a starter with the Steelers.
Steelers will be looking for their fifth consecutive win over the Browns. If the Steelers win, it will mark the third consecutive victory on the road. The good news for the Steelers is there defense continues to be top ranked in the NFL despite being without Polamalu.
This week the Steelers signed two free agents in WR Plaxico Burress and QB Brian Hoyer. They were both signed to two year deals. Burress spent the first five years of his career with the Steelers (2000-2004). During his tenure with the Steelers, he had two 1000 yard seasons and caught 45 passes for 612 yards. Since then, he's played with the Jets and the Giants. Hoyer last played with New England. He was released this summer. To make room for both players, Steelers released RB Baron Batch and LB Marshall McFadden.
Expect the Steelers to rely on their running game considering Cleveland's defense is ranked 24th in the league allowing 125.3 rushing yards per game. One of the criticisms of the Steelers last week against the Ravens was their abandoning the running game too early. Don't expect same this week. Moreover, a good running game can take some pressure off Charlie.
The bottom line: Steelers defense has to come up big.
Roethlisberger Family News: Ben's wife gave birth to a son, Ben Jr., last Wednesday at 10:06 p.m. This is the first child for the couple who were married in 2011. Mom and Ben Jr. are doing well.