Once the best of NFL rivalries, Cleveland-Pittsburgh fell on hard times as a matchup basically when the Browns left for Baltimore in 1996. The team that replaced them in Cleveland in 1999 never has measured up, and Ravens-Steelers became an AFC biggie.
Maybe now, finally, the Browns are ready for the big time.
They are 4-1 under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, looking balanced on offense and defense. On Sunday comes their biggest test since an opening-game flop at Baltimore when they head for the short drive southeast to the Steel City, where the Browns haven’t won since 2003.
“We are not worried about the past,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield, who nursed sore ribs this week. “We are worried about right now. And the next game is the most important one, and we have a very good division opponent we are going up against in their house.”
Pittsburgh, ranked fourth in the AP Pro32, is 4-0, but those opponents have a total of three victories combined. Their toughest opposition would have been Tennessee, but that game was moved to Oct. 25 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cleveland, ranked 10th, is a 3 1/2 point underdog at Pittsburgh.
KNOCKOUT POOL: Baltimore kept us moving and now Pro Picks turns to the PATRIOTS.
No. 32 New York Jets (plus 8 1-2) at No. 18 (tie) Miami