Week 11 NFL Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Predictions
I can't confirm this, but I'm guessing that nearly every member of the Cleveland Browns franchise was thrilled when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was lost to a season-ending injury in Week 2.
Don't get me wrong, players don't root for other players to get injured (usually), but Big Ben terrorized the Browns in his career with a 23-2-1 record. Big Ben has never been shy about beating extra motivated to beat Cleveland. He grew up a Browns fan in Ohio and believed the team should have picked him out of Miami of Ohio at No. 6 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Browns didn't, opting for Miami (Fla.) tight end Kellen Winslow II. Decent player for a while but turned out to be a dirtbag off the field and will be in prison for the next 12-18 years after pleading guilty to rape and sexual battery. The Steelers jumped all over Roethlisberger at No. 11 overall, and he's headed to Canton - although he says he will be back playing next season.
Huge game in the Wild-Card chase as I highly doubt either team is catching first-place Baltimore (7-2) in the AFC North. Very few teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs, but the Steelers (5-4) might join that group. They currently hold down the final Wild-Card spot in the AFC, winning a tiebreaker over Oakland and Indianapolis, who are also 5-4. Pittsburgh beat the Colts two weeks ago and has a better conference record than the Raiders. Cleveland (3-6) is 13th in the AFC so a loss here all but dooms the Browns. They do have a pretty easy schedule remaining other than having to host Baltimore in Week 16.
Steelers at Browns Betting Story Lines
Pittsburgh won its fourth game in a row Sunday, 17-12 as a short home underdog against a Rams team coming off its bye week. Can't say I saw that one coming. The Steelers' defense forced four turnovers, with Minkah Fitzpatrick returning a Jared Goff fumble 43 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Lot of people thought the Steelers were crazy for sending their 2020 first-round pick to Miami early this season, but Fitzpatrick has been well worth it. He has five interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this season along with touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Fitzpatrick also had a late interception to seal the game and is the first Steeler with a pick in three consecutive games since Troy Polamalu in Weeks 11-14 of the 2008 season.
The Pittsburgh offense wasn't particularly good with 273 yards and two turnovers. Top running back James Conner didn't play due to injury, and the Steelers managed all of 42 yards on 27 carries. It is looking good for Conner to play Thursday. He had his best game of the season on Oct. 28 vs. Miami with 145 yards and a TD on 23 carries before getting injured late.
Cleveland snapped a four-game losing streak with a 19-16 home win over a hugely overrated Buffalo Bills team Sunday. Baker Mayfield had his first two-TD passing day of the season and didn't throw a pick for a second straight game. Helped that Buffalo's Stephen Hauschka missed two field goals, including the potential tying kick from 53 yards in the final seconds. Former NFL rushing champion and Kansas City Chief Kareem Hunt made his Browns debut off an eight-game suspension and carried four times for 30 yards and caught seven passes for 44 yards.
Not all is exactly well with that Browns offense as they struggled in the red zone again. In fact, up 6-0 in the first quarter, the Browns became the first NFL team since the 1993 New York Jets to run six plays from an opponent's 2-yard line or closer on a possession without scoring. Receiver Antonio Callaway was a healthy scratch for disciplinary reasons but is expected to play Thursday. Rashard Higgins, Callaway's replacement in the lineup, caught the game-winning touchdown pass. Callaway, one of the faster players in the NFL, has eight receptions for 89 yards and three touchdowns in four games.
Steelers at Browns Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, Cleveland is a 2.5-point favorite (-125) with a total of 40. On the moneyline, the Browns are -150 and Steelers +130. On some alternate lines, the Browns are -3 (+100), -3.5 (+125), -7 (+200) and -7.5 (+222). The Steelers are -3 (+193) and -3.5 (+225). Pittsburgh is 2-1 against the spread on the road and 0-3 "over/under." The Browns are 0-3-1 ATS at home and 2-2 O/U.
Pittsburgh is 4-0-1 ATS in its past five Thursday games. It is 5-1 ATS in its previous six against the AFC North. Cleveland is 6-2 ATS in its past eight on Thursday and against the division. The Browns have covered just five of its previous 28 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in the Steelers' past seven vs. the AFC North. It's 4-0 in the Browns' past four on Thursday. The home team is 3-1-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five.
Steelers at Browns Betting Prediction
Pittsburgh was 1-0-1 vs. the Browns last season - they played a wild one Week 1 in Cleveland that ended in a 21-21 tie because both kickers missed potential winning field goals. That ended the Browns' 17-game losing streak. The Steelers were up 21-7 about halfway through the fourth quarter. Conner destroyed the Browns in both games last year.
I can see something like 20-17 in favor of the Browns so give the 2.5 points and go under.
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