8:30 PM ET, November 13, 2005
Cleveland (5-3) at Pittsburgh (6-2), Sunday 8:30 pm EST
Roethlisberger, who sports an 18-1 record as a starter during the regular season, is sidelined after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on November 3. He may return for next week's game at Baltimore.
With Roethlisberger out, veteran Charlie Batch will make his second straight start.
Steelers coach Bill Cowher used a conservative game plan in last week's 20-10 victory at Green Bay. Batch completed 9-of-16 passes for just 65 yards with an interception.
The contest against Green Bay featured the return of running back Duce Staley, who had been limited to just one game this season after undergoing knee surgery during training camp. He had 15 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Packers.
Staley could see a heavier workload against the Browns. Jerome Bettis missed last week's game with a quadriceps injury and Willie Parker left in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
Pittsburgh, which has won three straight, could tie idle Cincinnati for first place with a win.
The Browns stopped a three-game losing streak last week with a 20-14 victory over Tennessee. Reuben Droughns rushed for 116 yards and Trent Dilfer threw for 272 yards and one touchdown with an interception.
Droughns has two 100-yard game around a 99-yard performance in the last three weeks.
Dilfer's performance came after there had been speculation that first-year coach Romeo Crennel was considering going with rookie Charlie Frye as his starting quarterback.
The Steelers won both meetings between the teams last season, including a 34-23 triumph here. Staley rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Series: The Browns lead, 55-51, but the Steelers have won nine of the last 10 meetings.
Next week: Cleveland hosts Miami, November 20 Pittsburgh visits Baltimore, November 20
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Browns must control the clock
At first glance, this looks like a mismatch between two bitter division foes. Pittsburgh continues to roll with a dominating defense and a suffocating ball-control run game, while the Browns struggle with consistency on both sides of the ball. However, the Browns are quietly becoming more competitive and they are developing a strong run game of their own with RB Reuben Droughns. QB Trent Dilfer is making safer throws and they look like a more efficient team each week.
If you like a lot of passing, this is not your game. Both teams will try to control the clock with the run game, they will work to minimize mistakes and turnovers and they will lean on their respective defenses to make big plays and keep them in the game. This is an old-fashioned backyard brawl and it will likely be a lot closer than most people think.
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|Avg Points Allowed||18.9||16.1|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||CLE|
|Rush Yds Allowed||CLE|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Pittsburgh leads 10-1|
|Nov 14, 2004||CLE 10, PIT 24|
|Oct 10, 2004||CLE 23, @PIT 34|
|Nov 23, 2003||CLE 6, PIT 13|
|Oct 5, 2003||CLE 33, @PIT 13|
|Jan 5, 2003||CLE 33, @PIT 36|
|Nov 3, 2002||CLE 20, PIT 23|
|Sep 29, 2002||CLE 13, @PIT 16|
|Jan 6, 2002||CLE 7, @PIT 28|
|Nov 11, 2001||CLE 12, PIT 15|