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Berkshire Bank to buy Rome, NY, bank for $74 million

first_imgBerkshire Bank,Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc (Nasdaq: BHLB), and Rome Bancorp, Inc (Nasdaq: ROME) announced today that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Berkshire will acquire Rome and its subsidiary, The Rome Savings Bank, in a transaction valued at approximately $74 million.Rome’s assets totaled $330 million at June 30, 2010, and it operates five banking offices serving Rome, Lee, and New Hartford, New York. The Rome Savings Bank will be merged into Berkshire Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Berkshire. After the merger is completed, Berkshire Bank will serve customers in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont through a network of 46 full-service bank branches. Berkshire is expected to have total assets exceeding $3.0 billion and a total market capitalization for its common stock in excess of $300 million upon consummation of the transaction. Pro forma tangible equity to tangible assets is expected to improve to 8.4%.Under the terms of the merger agreement, 70% of the outstanding Rome shares will be exchanged for Berkshire shares at a fixed exchange ratio of 0.5658 Berkshire shares for each share of Rome. The remaining 30% of Rome shares will be exchanged for cash in the amount of $11.25 per share. Based on Berkshire’s closing stock price of $18.78 on October 11, 2010, the combined consideration for Rome’s shares is calculated at $10.81 per share. This represents 120% of Rome’s tangible book value per share, 19.3x Rome’s trailing twelve month earnings, and a 6.0% premium to core deposits based on financial information for the period ended June 30, 2010.Michael P. Daly, Berkshire’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “This is an attractive combination for both of our companies, and we expect it to produce solid investment returns to stockholders. We expect $0.09 core earnings per share accretion in 2011 before transactions costs and up to $0.10 earnings per share accretion in 2012 after cost saves and deal costs are fully absorbed in 2011. The merger is a desirable extension of our New York franchise and is expected to accelerate our long term earnings growth. Rome is a successful and well respected company with solid asset quality and strong market share in an attractive market. It provides access to the Utica market and proximity to the Syracuse market, which was recently listed by the Brookings Institution along with Albany as among the strongest of the top hundred metro areas in the country. The Syracuse and Utica-Rome markets have a combined population of nearly one million persons. We have been successful in growing low cost deposits in markets similar to Rome and in developing strong new commercial business in adjacent markets like Syracuse and Utica. We believe that the scope of our regional bank product selection and our energetic brand initiatives will be well received in these markets. Berkshire is well positioned to be a partner to Rome and other institutions in and around our markets who recognize the benefits that can be delivered to all of our constituencies through a well-structured business combination such as this.”Charles M. Sprock, Rome’s Chairman of The Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are very pleased to join Berkshire Hills Bancorp and Berkshire Bank. Berkshire has successfully partnered and expanded into new markets, and its experienced New York leadership is knowledgeable of our markets in and around Rome. Berkshire Bank will continue to uphold our tradition of service excellence while introducing new products, including insurance and wealth management. With a 14% premium to the recent price of our stock, the transaction pricing is attractive to our shareholders, especially when taking into account the significant upside potential for core earnings growth and stock appreciation of Berkshire stock.”Each Rome shareholder will have the right to elect the form of consideration, subject to proration procedures to maintain the overall 70%/30% mix of stock and cash consideration. The transaction is intended to qualify as a reorganization for federal income tax purposes, and as a result, the shares of Rome common stock exchanged for shares of Berkshire common stock are expected to be transferred on a tax-free basis. The definitive agreement has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both Berkshire and Rome. Consummation of the agreement is subject to the approval of Rome’s shareholders, as well as state and federal regulatory agencies. Berkshire does not anticipate that the transaction will require approval of its shareholders. The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011. Berkshire and Rome have created foundations for community charitable support which will continue to provide charitable contributions to the local communities.Stifel Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated served as the financial advisor to Berkshire, and Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P. served as the financial advisor for Rome. Luse Gorman Pomerenk & Schick, P.C. served as outside legal counsel to Berkshire, while SNR Denton US LLP served as outside legal counsel to Rome.BERKSHIRE UPDATEAn information presentation with additional information about the merger will be posted promptly in the Investor Relations section of Berkshire’s website at www.berkshirebank.com(link is external). Berkshire has a previously announced conference call to discuss third quarter earnings and earnings guidance on Thursday, October 21, 2010, and management will also plan to discuss this merger announcement on that call.Berkshire CEO Mike Daly added, “We are pleased that our third quarter earnings per share are anticipated to meet or exceed current consensus expectations of $0.24 per share. We also anticipate that our net interest margin will meet or exceed our expectations, with continuing solid loan growth and favorable asset quality metrics. We look forward to providing more information about our improving results and expectations in our forthcoming earnings release after the close of business on October 20, and in the conference call on October 21.”BACKGROUNDBerkshire Hills Bancorp is the parent of Berkshire Bank ‘ America’s Most Exciting Bank(SM). The Company has $2.7 billion in assets and 46 financial centers in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. Berkshire Bank provides 100% deposit insurance protection for all deposit accounts, regardless of amount, based on a combination of FDIC insurance and the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF). For more information, visit www.berkshirebank.com(link is external) or call 800-773-5601.Rome Bancorp, Inc. is a publicly held, one-bank holding company whose wholly-owned subsidiary, The Rome Savings Bank, maintains its corporate offices in Rome, New York. Rome Bancorp, Inc. is incorporated in the state of Delaware. The Rome Savings Bank, regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision, operates five full-service community banking offices in Rome, Lee, and New Hartford, New York. Rome’s primary lines of business include residential real estate lending, small business loan and deposit services, as well as a variety of consumer loan and deposit services.FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTSThis news release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 about the proposed merger of Berkshire and Rome. These statements include statements regarding the anticipated closing date of the transaction and anticipated future results. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. They often include words like “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” and “intend” or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “would,” “should,” “could” or “may.” Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results include delays in completing the merger, difficulties in achieving cost savings from the merger or in achieving such cost savings within the expected time frame, difficulties in integrating Berkshire and Rome, increased competitive pressures, changes in the interest rate environment, changes in general economic conditions, legislative and regulatory changes that adversely affect the business in which Berkshire and Rome are engaged, changes in the securities markets and other risks and uncertainties disclosed from time to time in documents that Berkshire files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR STOCKHOLDERSThe proposed transaction will be submitted to Rome stockholders for their consideration. Berkshire will file with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will include a Proxy Statement of Rome and a Prospectus of Berkshire, as well as other relevant documents concerning the proposed transaction with the SEC. Stockholders of Rome are urged to read the Registration Statement and the Proxy Statement/Prospectus when it becomes available and any other relevant documents filed with the SEC, as well as any amendments or supplements to those documents, because they will contain important information. You will be able to obtain a free copy of the Registration Statement, Proxy Statement/Prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Berkshire and Rome at the SEC’s Internet site (http://www.sec.gov(link is external)).Berkshire and Rome and certain of their directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Rome in connection with the proposed merger. Information about the directors and executive officers of Berkshire is set forth in the proxy statement, dated March 26, 2010, for Berkshire’s 2010 annual meeting of stockholders, as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Information about the directors and executive officers of Rome is set forth in the proxy statement, dated April 1, 2010, for Rome’s 2010 annual meeting of stockholders, as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Additional information regarding the interests of such participants and other persons who may be deemed participants in the transaction may be obtained by reading the Proxy Statement/Prospectus when it becomes available. Free copies of this document may be obtained as described in the above paragraph.NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURESThis news release references non-GAAP financial measures incorporating tangible equity and related measures, as well as core deposits. These measures are commonly used by investors in evaluating business combinations and financial condition. Tangible equity/tangible assets excludes intangible assets from the numerator and denominator. Tangible book value per share excludes intangible assets. Core deposits are total deposits less time deposits over $100 thousand.SOURCE Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 10.12.2010. PITTSFIELD, Mass. and ROME, N.Y.,/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ —last_img read more

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Coronavirus fears shut bars, borders; WHO urges world to ‘test, test, test’

first_imgBars, restaurants, cinemas and schools were shutting down from New York and Los Angeles to Paris and Dubai in a worldwide effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, as financial markets tumbled despite emergency action by global central banks.Germans were asked to cancel all vacations as Canada, Chile and other countries closed their borders to visitors. Peru deployed masked military personnel to block major roads while Ireland launched a campaign to recruit more healthcare workers. Airlines slashed flights, shed jobs and asked governments for billions of dollars in loans and grants.In contrast to much of the world, Mexico and Brazil still held large political rallies and the United Kingdom kept its schools open. Topics : Global markets reeled on Monday, with US stock indexes plunging more than 12% as the Federal Reserve’s second emergency rate cut to near zero stoked fears of a coronavirus-driven recession.EU finance ministers were planning a coordinated economic response to the virus, which the European Commission says could push the European Union into recession.A White House adviser said the United States could pump $800 billion or more into the economy to minimize damage.The World Health Organization (WHO) called on all countries on Monday to ramp up their testing programs as the best way to slow the advance of the pandemic.center_img “We have a simple message to all countries – test, test, test,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva. “All countries should be able to test all suspected cases. They cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded.”Getting worse in ItalyIn Italy, another 349 people died on Monday, taking the total to 2,158, with nearly 28,000 cases, after 368 deaths were reported on Sunday, a daily toll more dire than even China was reporting at the peak of the outbreak.”Many children think it is scary,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference dedicated to answering children’s questions about the pandemic.”It is OK to be scared when so many things happen at the same time,” Solberg said.Several countries banned mass gatherings such as sports, cultural and religious events to combat the fast-spreading respiratory disease that has infected nearly 179,000 people globally and killed more than 7,000.Just a month ago, financial markets were hitting record highs on the assumption the outbreak would largely be contained in China. There have now been more cases and more deaths outside mainland China than inside. US states pleaded with the Trump administration on Monday to coordinate a national response to the outbreak, saying patchwork measures enacted by state and local authorities were insufficient to confront the coast-to-coast emergency that has killed at least 74 Americans.A few hours later, President Donald Trump issued national guidelines that included avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and the closing of bars and restaurants.Many states had already taken those steps and were implementing even more stringent measures such as curfews. San Francisco will urge residents to shelter in place for three weeks starting on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.Spain and France, where cases and fatalities have begun surging at a pace just days behind that of Italy, imposed severe lockdowns over the weekend.The Middle East business and travel hub of Dubai said it was closing all bars and lounges until the end of March. Thailand plans to close schools, bars, movie theatres and popular cockfighting arenas.”The worst is yet ahead for us,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert in the United States, a warning echoed by officials in Switzerland, where 14 have died.Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told daily Corriere della Sera that the outbreak was still getting worse, though the governor of Lombardy, the northern region that has suffered the worst, said he saw the first signs of a slowdown.Britain has asked manufacturers including Ford Motor Co , Honda and Rolls Royce to help make health equipment, including ventilators to cope with the outbreak, and will look at using hotels as hospitals.The International Olympic Committee will hold talks with heads of international sports organizations on Tuesday, a source close to a federation briefed on the issue said, amid doubts the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to start on July 24 can proceed.last_img read more

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AFCON 2013:’Special One’ helps Cape Verde coach

first_imgCape Verde Islands coach Luis Antunes will have an advantage over his 15 rivals when the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off here Saturday.Anxious that his debutants do not suffer the same three-loss humiliation as Botswana and Niger in the previous edition last year, the 46-year-old air traffic controller sought the help of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.The self-proclaimed “Special One” agreed that Antunes could spend one week shadowing him as he went about his work with superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo at one of the most famous football clubs in the world.Mourinho, who has won league titles with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, was impressed by the man who plotted the downfall of four-time champions Cameroon in a 2013 Africa Cup eliminator.“Antunes is an intelligent coach. He has his own ideas, is well-organised, methodical and ambitious. He is a very good coach,” was the glowing Mourinho assessment of the Cape Verdean.On a sabbatical from his air traffic controller post at Nelson Mandela airport on the island of Sal since 2010, Antunes played down local media comparisons with Mourinho and Brazilian World Cup winner Luis Felipe Scolari. “They are two coaches who operate on quite a different level and can draw on a different realm of experience. The comparison simply is not justified, but I would give anything to be a Mourinho or Scolari,” he told reporters.Antunes, who succeeded Portuguese Joao de Deus as coach after working with national age-limit squads, could hardly have asked for a tougher start at the premier African football competition.South Africa in front of 90,000 hostile supporters, many blowing ear-piercing vuvuzelas (plastic horns) at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, is the task awaiting a Blue Sharks team skippered by veteran defender Nando Saturday.But Antunes is unperturbed and has set his ambitions far higher than damage limitation in Group A against 1996 winners South Africa, former champions Morocco, and Angola.“We are dreaming of reaching the quarter-finals and then, who knows? We might even get to the semi-finals,” he says of a team containing two locals plus barely known footballers scattered across the leagues of Europe. “It is very important to show Africa and the world a good image of the Cape Verde Islands so that people can see the amount of work we have done over the past few years.”With a population of little more than 500,000 on 10 islands 600 kilometres off the Senegalese coast, Cape Verde is the smallest country to compete at the Cup of Nations.But the progress of the Sharks has been remarkable with the team ranked 15 in Africa and 70 in the world by FIFA this week — higher than Morocco (17/74), Angola (19/78) and South Africa (22/85).“Tactically speaking, we have made a lot of progress, we play well as a unit and we fight hard for each other. Everyone comes back to help out defensively,” boasted Netherlands-based defender Guy Ramos.last_img read more

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Swimmer Tibatemwa finishes 64th of 85

first_img4 Completed 25.81s Farhan Farhan 6 Tanzania 2 Rest of team Uganda’s ScheduleFriday August 12Athletics 5pmJuliet Chekwel – Women’s 10000m final Saturday August 13Boxing 11.45pmMen’s flyweight  Round of 32Ronald Serugo vs  Narek Abgaryan (Armenia)Saturday August 13Athletics 4pmWomen’s 3000m Steeplechase Heat 1Peruth Chemutai10000m men final (3.00am Sunday Uganda time)Timothy Toroitich, Moses Kurong and Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa has just finished 6th in heat 4 of the 50m freestyle swimming event at the ongoing Rio Olympics. His time of 25.98 seconds was outside his national record of  25.54 seconds and placed him 64th out of 85 in the heats.Only the best 16 at the end of the 11 heats advanced to the semis. Hilal Hemed Hilal Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa 26.36s 25.77s 24.85s 8 Bahrain Nigeria AthleteTime Sunday August 14Women’s marathon final 3.30pmNyakisi AderoMonday August 15 Men’s 3000m steeplechase round 1 – 4.25pmBenjamin Kiplagat and Jacob Araptany***Women 3000m Steeplechase final 5.15pmTuesday August 16 Women’s 5000m round 1 – 3.30pmJuliet Chekwel and Stella ChesangMen’s 1500m round 1 – 4-30pmRonald MusagalaWed August 17 Men’s 5000m round 1 – 4.05pmJacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui CheptegeiWomen’s 800m round 1 – 4.55pmHalimah Nakaayi and Winnie NanyondoMen’s Steeplechase finalThursday August 18 Men’s 1500m semifinalWomen 800m semifinalFriday August 19 Women’s 5000m finalSaturday August 20 Men’s 1500m finalWomen’s 800m finalMen’s 5000m final 3.30pmJacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui CheptegeiSunday August 21 Men’s Marathon final 3.30pmSolomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop and Stephen KiprotichShare on: WhatsApp Giordan Harris 3center_img 25.98s 1 Burundi Olim Kurbanov 23.70s 24.61s 7 Samson Opuakpo Eloi Imaniraguha Marshall Islands 26.43s 5 Tibatemwa holds the national record for the race. At the International Swimming Federation World Championships in Kazan, Russia last year, Tibatemwa set two national records for Uganda and achieved his personal best in the 50 freestyle (25.54 seconds) and 50 breaststroke (33.00 seconds). He was Uganda’s third of Uganda’s 21 athletes to compete. Uganda sent a team of 2 swimmers, 2 boxers and 17 athletes.Uganda’s day one at the Rio Games ended miserably, with light-heavy weight boxer Kennedy Katende stopped by Briton Joshua Buatsi while swimmer Jamila Lunkuse was 40th of 44, in the heats of the 100m breast-stroke. Billy-Scott Irakoze Tibatemwa a first-year student at Grinnell College in the US trains earlier in the year. (PHOTOS by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College) Tajikistan Rwanda Ugandalast_img read more

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Steelers remain winless but all may not be lost

first_imgSteelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7), bottom right, is assisted by his teammates after he was sacked during the NFL football game against Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.  (AP Photo/Sang Tan)by Ulish CarterCourier Staff WriterThe winless Steelers went into the game with the winless Minnesota Vikings in London, England, knowing it was a must win game if they were to have any chance at a successful season. Yet the end result was the same, another loss, 34-27.But all may not be lost.Even though the defense joined the offense in illustrating how NFL teams should not play, the offense had its most productive games of the season.Although it was against one of the weakest defenses in the league, once again Ben Roethlisberger and company had impressive numbers.Ben was  36 for 51 for 383 yards, with a touchdown pass and one interception. Antonio Brown had 12 catches for 88 yards, and Jericho Cotchery had his best day with  5 receptions for 103 yards, and rookie running back  La’ Veon Bell made his debut with 57 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns. But they lost the game.Once again the offensive line looked like a group of college students playing against pros, allowing 5 sacks. And once again Ben refused to get rid of the ball in a timely manner to avoid some of the sacks. But with all that said. All is not lost.Playing in what was supposed to be one of the strongest divisions in the NFL, the AFC North, the Steelers are still in the race. Of course they have to win sometime?The Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens were supposed to be among the elite teams in the league not only battling for playoffs spots, but possible Super Bowl berths.Well, they have not looked much better than the Steelers. Both have 2-2 records after Cincinnati looked terrible in their 17-6 loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns, who are also 2-2, and Baltimore lost to the lowly Buffalo Bills, 23-20 behind 5 interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco.Remember, there’s 12 games left. And if the Ravens, and Bengals don’t get their act together the winner of the AFC North may be 9-7, which the Steelers could still possibly achieve considering they have another meeting with Cincinnati, two with Cleveland and two with Baltimore.Otherwise they could be in line for the cream of the crop coming out of college in the draft if they finish 4-12, but they will have a lot of competition as there are still four other winless teams in the NFL and three at 1-3. There may be more poor teams in the NFL this season than there’s been in years. Unless things change drastically, there’s a clear divide between the good teams and the poor teams, which was not the case in the past.The Steelers next opponent after the bye will be the up and down New York Jets. With starting quarterback Mark Sanchez out with an injury they may have found themselves a quarterback for the future in rookie Geno Smith who has looked very impressive at times season but he’s still an inconsistent rookie.The Jets, 2-2, may or may not be contenders this year with the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins in their division.  Coming off a lopsided 38-13 beating by the Tennessee Titans, the Jets look very beatable, which means that first Steelers victory could come after the bye week.After looking impressive in a victory the previous week, Smith’s four turnovers led to 28 points which pretty much buried the Jets. The supporting cast is not that impressive either with Bilas Powell at running back, 66 yards on 14 carrie; Kellen Winslow was their top receiver with 6 catches for 73 yards; and Jeremy Kerley had 4 catches for 65 yards. Former Steeler Santonio Holmes only had one catch for 25 yards. He may be hurt again.Even though no one wanted to say it, or admit to it, this is a rebuilding year for the Steelers. Especially after Maurkice Pouncey and Larry Foote went down to injuries in the first game. These two were the leaders on both sides of the ball.Now there are youngsters battling to make their mark on the offensive line and linebacking corps. Yes LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons are great young players, but the other two positions are manned by new untested players who by the end of the year should be very solid performers but for now they are struggling.The team has given up 40, and 34 points in the last two games which has to be corrected. But this is not just a defensive problem, in many cases some of those points came about because of an ineffective offense.The problems on defense will be corrected because Dick LeBeau is the best defensive mind in football. But it will take time to blend in the young new players, with the young veterans. Remember, the only four players with any kind of age on them are Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor and Brett Keisel who are all playing solid football.Why the Steelers didn’t go after offensive linemen in the  2013 draft is still a big mystery. So they are going to have to live with what they have, and may have to find one or two more players if they sustain anymore injuries. But if something doesn’t change offensively a good hard look and a lot of changes will have to be made among the coaches at the end of the season, or before.last_img read more

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Steelers will beat Browns, thanks to their best defense in years (Nov. 13)

first_imgby Mike Pelaia, For New Pittsburgh CourierAs the Steelers come off their 4th straight victory over the defending NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams, they need to make a quick turnaround and head to Cleveland to take on the Browns.Cleveland has been a disappointment thus far this season, however, after beating the Bills this past Sunday, Nov. 10, they may have found a little life and some motivation to take down their intra-division rivals from Pittsburgh.The game will feature two quarterbacks who are no strangers to each other from their Big 12 days at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. This will be the first time these guys have faced off as pros but I expect a good, heated battle.On offense, the team wants to get more touches from JuJu Smith-Schuster but I anticipate the Browns will double-team him, as most teams have this season, meaning Rudolph is going to need to distribute the ball downfield to both Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Washington is coming off the best game of his career where he just posted six receptions for 90 yards. Given he has a good, solid connection with Rudolph, I’m looking for him to put up similar numbers again this week and really become a go to guy for the young QB.I’d like to see the use of Vance McDonald even more, especially in the red zone and on third down. McDonald should be Rudolph’s safety blanket and I look for more involvement out of him this week.From Rudolph’s standpoint, he needs to get more comfortable in the pocket and read the defense faster. He’s taking too many hits, getting stuck in the pocket too frequently lately and has been the victim of two safeties over the past two weeks. While I recognize the Steelers offensive line had to contend with Aaron Donald this past week vs. the Rams, possibly one of the best defenders in the entire NFL, Rudolph needs to be more aware.On Thursday, Nov. 14, he’ll have to face another monster in Myles Garrett for the Browns and if he continues to hold onto the ball too long, it could spell disaster.In addition to getting the ball downfield, I maintain, as I have for weeks, the pass game needs to be set up by an effective rushing attack. One that controls the clock and moves the sticks, no matter who’s carrying the ball. It’s extremely important for a young quarterback. If the Steelers can’t gain four yards per carry at the least, the passing attack will suffer against the Browns.But this game, like most this season, won’t be won by the offense. It’s this new-look defense that will need to step up again. I look for an all-out blitzkrieg on Mayfield. He talks a big game but he’s a turnover, mistake machine and this opportunistic defense led by Minkah Fitzpatrick will be ready to pounce.Mayfield will be looking to distribute the ball to his two stud wideouts, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry but if the Steelers can get into the backfield as quickly as they have been, with guys like TJ Watt and Bud Dupree, Mayfield won’t have the time necessary to get it out to his playmakers.I anticipate Watt will get a few more sacks this week and Mayfield won’t know what hit him.The Browns will need to, and will try to, run the ball with Nick Chubb who has been a terror on defenses this year, amassing 919 yards already. To add to that threat, Kareem Hunt is back in the mix and is a playmaking thereat. I’m looking for the front line to plug the holes. Javon Hargrave and Cam Heyward have been impenetrable this season and if Chubb or Hunt get through, they will be hard pressed to get past Vince Williams and Devin Bush.This defense is one of the best we’ve seen in Pittsburgh in years and they will gain at least five more sacks this week, generate at least two more turnovers and will shut the Browns offense down.I look for the Steelers defense to set up their offense with short fields and easy scoring opportunities in this matchup, allowing the Steelers to extend their winning streak to five games. Prediction: Steelers 24, Browns 20. Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierlast_img read more

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