Know Thy Enemy: Steelers vs Browns

This week I’ve contacted Steve DiMatteo again of the blog site Dog Pound Daily.  After the jump are five questions and his answers about the state of the Browns and what we should expect today against the Steelers.

1. Let’s get this part over with.  What are YOUR thoughts on the Browns conducting any form of retaliation for James Harrison’s hit on McCoy?  Think they might try and go after Roethlisberger for it?
I think any thoughts about retaliation are simply the product of fans and media members who propagate that kind of stuff. I like to believe that these players are professionals and wouldn’t go out of their way to retaliate against an opponent. I doubt that any Browns players are big fans of Harrison, but I wouldn’t expect to see anything happen.
2. Joe Thomas made his fifth straight Pro Bowl.  That’s pretty special as an offensive lineman – I think that’s one of the tougher areas to figure out Pro Bowl status since there are no true ‘stats’.  What are your thoughts on this and other selections throughout the AFC?
It’s great to see a Browns player receiving those types of accolades, especially Thomas, who had to deal with losing left guard Eric Steinbach before the season even started. He’s a stalwart on the offensive line and he’s one of the few building blocks this team has. It’s a much-deserved honor. The big surprise that jumps out at me from the Browns perspective is the snub of linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. With the comeback he’s had, it’s surprising to see him left off for Ray Lewis.
3. Does Seneca start over Thaddeus for Browns?  How effective do you think he will be on Sunday?  Will the Browns play with heart this Sunday even though they are out of the playoff picture?
Seneca Wallace will be starting on Sunday, but I can’t say he’ll be all that effective against the Steelers’ defense. In the last few games, he’s proven why he is a career backup, but I do think the Browns will play hard, as they have all season. The defense has kept them in games all year, but the Browns have been victimized late in the season by the Steelers plenty of times.
4. Let’s look a little to next season – what are the Browns’ biggest needs going into 2012?
The Browns’ biggest needs all belong on the offense. Obviously, they need a play-making wide receiver that can spread a defense, but the Browns also need to shore up the right side of the offensive line and consider drafting a running back. That’s not even mentioning the decision they will have to make about Colt McCoy.
5. Predictions?
The Browns will play hard, but the Steelers have had their number for years and nothing will change. The Steelers win, 27-13
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