The Cleveland Browns can put the Pittsburgh Steelers in an early hole with a win on Monday night


Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT, ABC


SERIES RECORD: Steelers lead 80-62-1.

LAST MEETING: Steelers beat Browns 28-14 on Jan. 8, 2023, in Pittsburgh.

LAST WEEK: Browns beat Bengals 24-3; Steelers lost to 49ers 30-7.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Browns: 1-0; Steelers 0-1.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Browns minus-2; Steelers minus-1.

BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie T Dawand Jones. With Jack Conklin lost for the season with a knee injury suffered in the opener, the massive Jones, a fourth-round pick from Ohio State, moves into the starting lineup earlier than expected. The 6-foot-8, 375-pounder more than held his own against the Bengals, but could now find himself facing Steelers LB T.J. Watt, one of the NFL's premiere pass rushers.

STEELERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Najee Harris. Pittsburgh never really had a chance to get Harris going last week against the 49ers after falling into an early 20-0 deficit. Harris is averaging 103.7 yards rushing in four games against the Browns.

KEY MATCHUP: Browns DE Myles Garrett vs. Pittsburgh OL. First-year defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz kept the Bengals guessing last week by moving Garrett around. On one play, Garrett mimicked dribbling a basketball between his legs before rushing up the middle and forcing Burrow to bail from the pocket.

KEY INJURIES: Cleveland emerged from the opener relatively intact. ... However, top WR Amari Cooper sustained a groin injury in practice on Saturday and is questionable. Cooper led the Browns in catches, yards receiving and TDs in 2022. ... Browns starting S Juan Thornhill (calf) is also questionable after missing the opener. ... Conklin's loss is a significant setback to Cleveland's front five, which spent the summer developing cohesion while learning how to hold blocks for QB Deshaun Watson, who scrambles and runs. ... The Steelers will be without veteran DT Cam Heyward (groin surgery) and WR Diontae Johnson (hamstring) indefinitely. Expect Pittsburgh to use several players, including rookie DT Keeanu Benton, to fill Heyward's spot along the line. ... Johnson's absence should create more snaps for veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson, who caught five passes for 64 yards in Week 1. ... TE Pat Freiermuth (chest), RT Chuks Okorafor (concussion protocol), DT Larry Ogunjobi (foot) were limited during the week but are expected to play.

SERIES NOTES: The longtime rivals have split their past six meetings going back to Cleveland's victory in the 2021 regular-season finale. ... Pittsburgh is 22-2 against the Browns at Acrisure Stadium, including a 21-1 mark during the regular season. ... Cleveland's lone regular-season win in Pittsburgh this millennium came in 2003, when Steelers starting QB Kenny Pickett was 5. ... Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 25-6-1 vs. Cleveland.

STATS AND STUFF: The Browns haven't been 2-0 since 1993. ... This is the first time Cleveland has been favored in Pittsburgh since 1989. ... While playing in Pittsburgh has been historically painful, the Browns did get their first playoff win since 1994 on the Steelers' home turf in 2020. ... Led by Garrett, Cleveland's defense held Bengals QB Joe Burrow to a career-low 82 yards passing in the opener. The wet conditions contributed to Burrow's struggles, but the Browns' blitzes were a bigger factor. ... Cincinnati had just 142 total yards and went 2 of 15 on third downs. ... Cleveland's Week 1 win at home was the club's first since 2004. ... Garrett, who pulled down Burrow for a game-sealing sack in the fourth quarter, is the only player in the league to have double-digit sacks in each of the past five seasons. ...Nick Chubb had 106 yards rushing against Cincinnati, his 30th 100-yard game. The Browns are 22-8 when he gets to the century mark. He's averaged 72.6 yards in nine games against the Steelers. ... Watson had some ugly throws in Week 1, but made big plays with his legs, running 13 yards on a draw for a TD. ... Newly acquired Browns K Dustin Hopkins made all three field-goal attempts last week, providing major relief for Cleveland after releasing Cade York after one season. ... Steelers looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2019 when QB Ben Roethlisberger went down at halftime of Week 2 with a season-ending elbow injury. ... Pittsburgh hasn't started a season 0-2 when each of its first two games were at home since 1952. ... The Steelers have been nearly unbeatable at home on Monday night. Pittsburgh has won 20 straight Monday night home games, the most recent loss coming in 1991 against the New York Giants. ... Pickett threw two interceptions in 46 attempts against the 49ers after having just one pick over his final eight games (223 attempts) as a rookie. ... Steelers OLB T.J. Watt's next sack will set a franchise career record. Watt moved into a tie with James Harrison at 80 1/2 sacks after getting three against San Francisco. Harrison needed 14 seasons to get to that mark. Watt is two games into his seventh year in Pittsburgh. ... The Steelers ran just 10 times for 41 yards in the opener, most of them coming on a 24-yard burst by Najee Harris late in the first half. It was Pittsburgh's lowest total since managing just 35 yards on the ground against Tennessee on Dec. 19, 2021.

FANTASY TIP: Expect the Browns to feature Chubb early and often against a defensive front missing its most vital cog. Cleveland is 21-8 when Chubb tops 100 yards rushing in a game, including a 2-0 mark against the Steelers.