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Steelers Look for First Win, Browns Hoyer Placed on IR

The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) have returned from their bye week and are looking for their first win of the season on Sunday against the New York Jets (3-2) . It’s been quite awhile for them go winless at a season’s start; it was last seen in 1968 at 0-6.

For this game, player changes have been made. The Steelers will have some new faces starting on defense with defensive end Cameron Heyward and linebacker Vince Williams. They sit at No. 10 in total defense with its 321.8 yards given up each game but they have the unfortunate distinction as the only league team that has not made a turnover.

With its minus-11 turnover differential, only the New York Giants (0-6) with its four sacks sit as low in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger

On the offensive side, the team is looking forward to rookie running back Le’Veon Bell to again jump start its running game. In the Sept. 29 game against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 16 carries for 57 yards and two scores. Look for his workload to rise this week.

Similar to the defense, the offensive line has some new starting faces starting as they’ll try to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from his repeated sacks (five by the Vikings, 15 for the season). The team may have Kelvin Beachum in the guard role if Ramon Foster is bothered by his strained pectoral muscle while recently acquired Levi Brown could be at left tackle.

Roethlisberger will look to improve his play. In the last two games, he’s had six turnovers but has passed for 789 yards with three touchdowns. Good luck going up against the Jets’ defense that sits as No. 2 for the league with its 299.0 yards per game allowed.

The Steelers will hope for Bad Geno Smith to show up in this game but he’ll enter it with a lot of confidence after the Monday night 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons (1-4). Smith went 16 of 20 passes, 199 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He ended the game on a high note as he hit four consecutive passes and an 8-yard rush that set the team up for a field goal and the win.

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is expected to play after injuring his knee in practice this week. Meanwhile, wide receiver Santonio Holmes is still dealing with hamstring injury and will be out.

For the Steelers, they’re hungry for a win but they’re losing streak will continue as the Jets get the W (-1.5, 41 o/u).

QB Hoyer Placed on IR

Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer

After giving the Cleveland Browns (3-2) a much-needed lift in September, quarterback Brian Hoyer has been placed on injured reserve. The news came on Saturday by the team.

Hoyer injured his knee in the Oct. 3 game against the Buffalo Bills (2-3). Quarterback Brandon Weeden took over and led the team to a win. This week, he’ll start against the Detroit Lions (3-2) but his win streak will end (-2.5, 43.5 o/u).

With the vacancy from Hoyer, the Browns signed rookie wide receiver Charles Johnson. He comes from the Green Bay Packers (2-2) practice squad. From his days at Grand Valley State, Johnson’s 2012 numbers included 1,199 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

Packers vs. the Baltimore Ravens

This week, the Packers will travel to the Baltimore Ravens (3-2). The odds could be against them for the win as Ravens quarterback  JoeFlacco has a flawless home record against the NFC at 10-0. For Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he’s yet to get a win against a defending Super Bowl champion. He has an 0-2 record.

Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco

Look for the Ravens defense to battle Rodgers’ quick release. Should they succeed at pressuring him, the Ravens could have their fourth win in five weeks.

They sit tied with the Browns at the top of the AFC North but will not see another victory as the Packers will prevail (-2.5, 49 o/u).



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