PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Vance McDonald #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball during the second half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jaguars defeat Pittsburgh 45-42. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Oh joy of joys, football is back, no more practice. Straight-up, every play counts. It has been a long 200 days but we finally made it. Now then, of course every win or loss counts now and has an impact on the season. However, there are some extra reasons on why week one is almost a must win for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s go over what the biggest factors are.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: NFL Week One

Divisional Games Count For More

A long-standing rivalry, the Cleveland Browns are one of the three other teams in the Steelers division. So of course, each game means even more, but besides the record there are the mind games that the teams love to play with each other. For multiple years the Steelers have been using the saying ‘We own the north’ winning the division soundly including last year going 6-0 against division rivals. Once you do that you certainly want to repeat it as much as possible. The bottom line is if the playoff contentions are close. The win/loss record in the division is often the deciding factor of who moves on and who doesn’t.

Win or Lose, The Steelers Will Be Tormented In The Press

Here is the funny thing about this game. The Browns have not won a regular season game since the last game of the 2016 season. So it puts the Steelers in an awkward position. If due to the new team members and practice the Browns are able to pull out a win, the Steelers would be chastised as the team that finally fell to the hapless Browns. On the other hand, if the Steelers win the game, they will get little credit since the Browns went without a win all of last year. Any analysts will simply say, they had to beat them, how could they not? Fortunately, the Steelers have a thick skin and usually don’t care what the press says about them at game time. They will need to bring their A game and push for the first win of the season.

The Browns May Be More Focused on Winning

If there is one thing that the Steelers have the bad habit of doing. They under prepare for teams that should be easy wins. They don’t push as hard, they don’t practice as hard, and then the few losses they have in an otherwise great season are to teams that on paper should never have a win against them. Add to this the distraction of the ongoing saga of Le’Veon Bell. Some of the players are aggravated and may not be at full focus. Of course, the Browns need this win more than the Steelers. The Steelers can make up the ground for a loss better than the Browns can. After last season, the Browns will want to start off with a win over one of their rivals to pump up their confidence.

The bottom line is that every win counts and every loss hurts to an extent. Even though week one is obviously the beginning of the season, you want to start on a high note and get a good jump right out of the gate. While both teams want a win in week one, both have different reasons for it. Although they meet twice a year every year, they can still surprise each other once in a while. But rest assured, NFL Week One is here and it should be a great game. Play on.

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