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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns prediction and pick for this week's AFC North battle. Mike Spector gives his pick for Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction: Browns Look to Overcome Injuries Against Rivals

The AFC North is the only division in football with all four of its teams at .500 or better. Thus, this Steelers-Browns game is crucial for each team to keep pace with the Bengals and Ravens. Will the Steelers look fresh after the bye week and win their third consecutive game, or will the Browns continue to overcome injuries and remain in contention in a tough division?

Steelers vs. Browns odds

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Injury Report

PITTSBURGH: Questionable: DT Carlos Davis

OUT: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, RB Anthony McFarland Jr., DE Tyson Alualu

CLEVELAND: Expected to Play: RB Nick Chubb (Calf)

Questionable: QB Baker Mayfield (shoulder), WR Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder), WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring)

OUT: OT Jack Conklin, CB A.J. Green, RB Kareem Hunt (calf)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction

The Pittsburgh Steelers started to get things rolling with two back-to-back wins at home before the bye week. They scored a season-high 27 points in a win over the Broncos and held on for an overtime victory in their last game against Seattle. The Steelers have played just twice on the road through their first six games and are looking for their first road win since a 23-16 victory in Week 1 at Buffalo. In the last two weeks, Pittsburgh's success can be tied mainly to a resurgent running game with Najee Harris. Harris has averaged 101.5 yards per game in that span after failing to top 62 yards in any of the first four games. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada clearly prefers a more balanced offense, as Harris has carried at least 23 times the last two games after not running more than 16 times in any other game.

To say the Cleveland Browns were a banged-up football team heading into last Thursday's game against the Broncos is a massive understatement. Cleveland had 19 players on the injury report, including 13 starters. Two of their most essential starters, Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb, were ultimately ruled out, while eight others were questionable. As a result, Case Keenum earned his first start at quarterback in two seasons with Cleveland, while running back D'Ernest Johnson made his first career start with Chubb and Kareem Hunt both out. All Johnson did in his debut was run for 146 yards, which were the most in a player's first career start since Kareem Hunt in 2017.

Steelers vs. Browns odds

Because of a lack of trust in Keenum, there will be many skeptical about laying more than a field goal with Cleveland. However, just four years ago, he went 11-3 as the Vikings starting quarterback, throwing for 21 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also made 16 starts for Denver in 2018. If the Browns continue to run the ball as they did against the Broncos, it will not matter who plays quarterback. In addition, the Browns will have more depth at running back this week with the expected return of leading rusher Nick Chubb.

During Cleveland's mini two-game losing streak, they allowed 84 combined points to the Chargers and Cardinals. However, they got right defensively against Denver, allowing a season-low 41 rushing yards. Denver's 223 total yards were also a season-low, while the Broncos' 182 rushing yards they allowed to Cleveland was a season-high. The Browns' return to a dominant defense was encouraging, and they are now 4-0 when allowing 21 or fewer points. Considering Pittsburgh ranks 26th in the league in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game, that bodes well for the Browns to have success defensively once again.

These two teams met in the AFC Wild Card playoffs last year, and Pittsburgh's vaunted defense could not stop a nose bleed. The Browns raced out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead and averaged six yards per play. The Steelers did have 553 total yards and had 34 first downs to Cleveland's 20 but were undone by five turnovers. This game does not project to be as high-scoring, as the Browns will likely want to limit possessions with Keenum at quarterback.

The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams, and Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in their previous six games following a straight-up win. Browns backers may want to wait and see if this line ever gets down to -3 before pulling the trigger, but we will be on the Browns at -3.5 even if it does not.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Pick

Article Author


Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


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