Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) at Cleveland Browns (0-10 SU, 2-8 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20, 2016 1:00PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH.
by WILSON, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PITT -8/CLE +8
Over/Under Total: 49
The bad news is the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost 4 games in a row. The good news is their opponent this Sunday has lost 10 games in a row. Cleveland has not won a single contest this season and many analyst believe the Browns may not win at all this year, a sad prediction. For Cleveland’s sake, the Steelers are not the same team they’ve been in the past. Pittsburgh has been inconsistent at best this season and their defense is nowhere near the caliber it was in previous years. The AFC North is not exactly a picture of the NFL’s stellar teams right now. The Baltimore Ravens (5-4) lead the division by just a game over the Steelers (4-5) then Cincinnati (3-5), and finally, the cellar dweller Cleveland at 0-10. This should be a win for Pittsburgh on paper, but then again, paper is just that, paper. Both of these teams are coming into this contest after losses, Pittsburgh dropped their latest at home to the Cowboys 35-30, and the Browns lost at Baltimore 28-7. Pitt needs to win out if they want any chance at all of saving their season, and Cleveland, well, they will just take a win at this point.
Cleveland gives up more than 30 points per game and it is no surprise that Pitt is favored both on paper and at the sports books. The Steelers are a team that can score a lot of points quickly especially if Big Ben is on his game and when you factor in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown it is easy to predict the outcome given the Brown’s feeble defensive numbers. However, the Steelers defense is suspect as well. Last week the Cowboy’s rookie sensation RB Ezekiel Elliot was literally untouched by defenders on two relatively long touchdown runs against the Steelers. This game might be high scoring based on both team’s lack of D as of late. Currently the total is 49 points.
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The QB Matchup is Ben Roethlisberger versus Cody Kessler. Ben’s numbers are typical Big Ben stats, 205/317 for 2357 yards and 20 TDs, but he also has 7 INTs to Kessler’s one INT. Kessler is 119/178 for 1241 yards and 6 TDs. It is hard not to give Big Ben the nod in this matchup even though Kessler is at home and has not tossed nearly as many picks; he doesn’t have the equivalent supporting cast as in Brown and Bell who are bigtime playmakers and game changers for the Steelers. In addition to a weak defense, the Browns are now undoubtedly fighting more than just opposing teams but rather, now they are dealing with the “0-10” hanging over their heads and the mental mess that accompanies such a mark at this point in the season. Surely they will win ONE game? But honestly, I don’t see it happening this weekend. Pittsburgh will not let a winless team beat them. This is when coaching staffs and players make exceptional efforts, even more than usual, to get the W. No coach or player wants to be the “Team” that broke the streak!
The money line on this game is currently PITT -350, CLE +290. Pitt is 1-3 ATS on the road, and CLE is 0-4 ATS at home. PITT is 4-3 ATS as the favorite, and CLE is 2-8 ATS as the underdog. The Total of 49 may be the kicker in this game—with the defenses allowing 22 and 30 points per game there is a good chance this game will go Over the current total of 49. Cleveland will look to get their first win on the season and it would be great for them if they beat the Steelers of all teams—I think they will put up some points in a “who has the ball last” will win type of game.
I’m taking the OVER. Luck to ya.
WILSON’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: OVER.
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