The bottom of the AFC North could very well be at risk Sunday in Cleveland as the 3-3 Steelers visit the 4-3 Browns with the loser falling to the bottom of the division. With the Ravens and Bengals looking like a two-team race for the top, both of these teams need this one to stay at a minimum in the Wild Card race as inter-division play heats up.
Let’s take a closer look.
- Opening Line: Browns -3, O/U 43.5
- Current Line: Browns -3.5, O/U 42.5
- Last meeting: January 10, 2021 – Browns 48, Steelers 37
After starting the season with one of the more impressive wins from any team in 2021 thus far, the Steelers have floundered to a 3-3 record losing three of their last five (2-4 ATS). Most recently winning at home against the Seahawks, the Steelers needed overtime as Ben Roethlisberger and his offense was barely able to outgun Geno Smith and his.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have been saved by arguably the best defensive player in the league in defensive end TJ Watt, whose strip-sack of Geno Smith set the team up for a game-winning field goal vs. Seattle.
I don’t know what’s worse for the Browns, the injury of quarterback Baker Mayfield or the fact his absence didn’t mean much for the unit. On a day where they outgained their opponent +141 through the air and covered, the Browns picked up a home win last week at the Broncos that they desperately needed to stay relevant.
While Mayfield’s status remains in doubt, Case Keenum appears to be more than capable of stepping up to the plate for the Browns if he is forced to go again in this one.
- Browns are 4-1 AYS in their L5 games
- Steelers 5-1 to the under in their L6 games
- Under 6-2 in L8 head to heads in Cleveland
While the Steelers defense might have carried them thus far to the record they have, the Browns have as well; in spades. To this point in the season, the Browns defense ranks #2 in the league in total yards at just 295.6 allowed per game, including allowing just 80.4 on the ground.
Now facing a Steelers team that has no choice but to establish the run, I expect them to have a hard time in doing so and force Roethlisberger into the mistakes he has been begging defenses to let him make.
Pick: Browns -3.5
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