Too Early for Do or Die in This Matchup?
We’re only entering into week 8 of the NFL season but is the loser of Sunday’s Steelers at Browns matchup already done for the year? 3-3 Pittsburgh and 4-3 Cleveland are both trailing the Bengals and Ravens, who are 5-2 in the AFC North.
We should get the best of each team in this matchup as Pittsburgh is coming off their bye week while Cleveland hasn’t played since a 17-14 win over the Broncos last Thursday night. The Steelers have rattled off two straight victories and look for a little vengeance against a Browns team that eliminated them in the last season, even at Heinz Field.
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Steelers Rested and Ready
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is just 7-7 coming off a bye week, but you have to like their chances a little more with a week of rest. The Steelers have rattled off 27-19 wins over the Broncos and 23-20 to the Seahawks their last two games, but both of those were at home and with favorable betting odds for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh now heads to Cleveland for NFL week 8 NFL picks to face a Brown’s squad. They’ve lost 24-22 and 48-37 the last two head-to-head meetings. The Steelers have played four of their last five games at home this season, and it’s a tough matchup against a Cleveland squad that is 3-1 at home.
Cleveland has the #2 total yard defense (295.6 ypg) and also ranks #2 vs. the run (80.4 ypg), so it’s a tough matchup for Pittsburgh in this game. Cleveland being so good vs. the ground game makes it tough for Steelers rookie RB Najee Harris to keep up his 100+ rush yard average over the last two weeks.
It’s looking like Ben Roethlisberger needs to play a more prominent role to keep this one close and cover the +3.5 betting odds. He’s been good but not great with 7 TDs and 4 INTs on the season. Roethlisberger had 4 TDs in the playoff game loss to Cleveland but also tossed 4 INTs.
Cleveland’s Health is an Issue
The Browns would have loved the bye Pittsburgh had last week as they try to get healthy but at least they get a few more days of rest after last Thursday’s win over Denver. That should allow Baker Mayfield to return from a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and RB Nick Chubb is also upgraded to probable with a calf injury.
Cleveland is still facing a lot of injury questions even if Mayfield and Chubb return. Jarvis Landry (knee), Odell Beckham, Jr. (shoulder), Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin), and Kareem Hunt (calf) all have their status in doubt for this game.
The good news for the Browns is that even if they don’t get all their offensive players back, this team looks like they’re more about what than who. What that means for this week’s NFL picks is that Case Keenum stepped in for Mayfield to throw for 199 yards and a TD vs. the Broncos, and D’Ernest Johnson came out of nowhere to have 146 yards rushing to help Cleveland cover the -1.5 betting odds.
Steelers at Browns Pick
Could Cleveland win this one even if they do have to go with a skeleton crew? Mayfield is almost assuredly back, but he’s missing a lot of targets with the injuries to the Browns’ WR crew.
Can Tomlin devise a defensive game plan (coming off a bye) to stop the Browns running game and make a banged-up Mayfield beat them through the air, possibly without his top targets?
Pick: Steelers +3.5