PITTSBURGH -- Given that the Pittsburgh Steelers are harder to read than the tax code, is there a chance they don’t take care of what they need to do Sunday at Heinz Field?
Yes, they have owned the Browns, particularly in Pittsburgh. Yes, they dominated the Browns last month in Cleveland? And, yes the Browns haven’t won a game since they hosted the Steelers.
But for anyone who thinks the regular-season finale is a gimme for the Steelers, I have three words for you: Minnesota. Oakland. Miami.
The Steelers lost too many games they should have won -- and you can probably throw Tennessee in there, too -- which is why they need to win Sunday and get a lot of help to avoid missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time under seventh-year coach Mike Tomlin.
The Browns have lost six games in a row and are clearly reeling, but the Steelers are expecting to at least get their best effort on Sunday.
“I don’t expect anything less from them,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “It’s AFC North. It’s Steelers-Browns. I don’t think much more needs to be said.”
What Tomlin will surely remind his players throughout the week is that, bad as Cleveland’s record is, it came within a questionable pass interference call this month of beating the Patriots in New England.
“These guys have been through a lot of things this season going back to the beginning of the season, and they’ve been able to handle those situations well,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “It’s a resilient group that loves playing and loves competing. I expect them to be at their best this weekend.”
The Steelers should consider themselves warned.