Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Week 8 Pick
NFL Football Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 28th, 1:00pm EST
Where: Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA
Point Spread: CLE +8/PIT -8
Over/Under Total: 51
POWER RATINGS WEEK 8:
CLEVELAND BROWNS 25th
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 13th
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 7:
While the Pittsburgh Steelers were on a BYE in week 7, the Cleveland Browns were down south taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Once again, the young and inexperienced Browns let another win slip away. Cleveland played Tampa tough once again going into overtime before eventually losing. One bright spot for Cleveland is that it appears rookie running back, Nick Chubb is ready to be the man. Against Tampa, Chubb had 18 carries for 80 yards and a score. After trading Carlos Hyde during the week, it opened up the opportunity for more touches by Chubb and Duke Johnson but you can tell Nick Chubb will be the workhorse from here on out. Although Cleveland Is still losing overall, they are improving. Baker Mayfield had a decent game as well in Tampa passing for 215 yards and two touchdowns, but the most important stat was that he did not throw a pick. Protecting the ball for Cleveland will be very important down the stretch. Even though Cleveland is still “learning how to win,” this is no longer a team that you can overlook. These guys are talented, they are very confident, and if you do not come ready to play, they WILL beat you.
HOW THE PUBLIC IS BETTING CLEVELAND AND PITTSBURGH:
With the spread currently having the Steelers as an eight-point favorite, the public action is close to even on both sides. The Steelers are getting about 54% of the action while 46% likes Cleveland to keep this game again close. As long as one side of this does not go over 60% of the action, I think this line stays right where it is. On the season the Steelers are 3-3 against the spread while Cleveland is 5-2. This should be an interesting one to watch unfold.
Of course with both of these teams being from the AFC North, they play each other twice a year, every year. Dating back to 2013, the Steelers have won eight of their ten match-ups with the most recent being a tie. The only loss Pittsburgh has sustained to the Browns came back in 2014 when Cleveland put a 31-10 whooping on Pittsburgh. Obviously, from a historical standpoint, the Steelers have the edge, but just back in week one, Cleveland had them on the ropes and COULD have won that game. Much has changed since that tie in the first week of the season. At that time, Cleveland was starting Tyrod Taylor at QB, Carlos Hyde was stumbling for just around two and a half yards a carry, and the Cleveland kicking game looked like that of a 10-11-year-old parks and recreation pee-wee league game. Without the trash kicking game of Zane Gonzalez in weeks one and two, this Cleveland team could easily be sitting on a winning record…and I mean EASILY. Until this Browns team turns the corner by winning the close games, I will have Pittsburgh as the lean to win outright, but again, these Browns are not far off from being a respectable squad.
CLEVELAND: There are no significant injuries to Cleveland that really makes a difference in this game on Sunday…in my opinion. As of right now, both Rashard Higgins (WR) and Edwin Gaines (CB) are game-time decisions. Neither played in the game against Tampa, but both are hopeful to return to action against Pittsburgh. Along with the two of them, Linebacker Joe Schobert is out for an unknown period of time with a hamstring injury.
PITTSBURGH:For the Steelers, the holdout of Le’Veon Bell continues meaning that James Connor will continue to carry the load for Pittsburgh. There are also injuries to Morgan Burnett (S), Darius Heyward-Bey (WR), and LJ Fort (LB). Burnett has missed the last five games and will probably not see the field Sunday although that is not confirmed. Heyward-Bey and Fort have both been nursing an ankle injuries, and as of now, it is unclear if either will be ready for action against Cleveland.
WHEN CLEVELAND HAS THE BALL:
Look for a heavy dose of Nick Chubb this Sunday. Although the Steelers run defense is ranked in the top ten of the league, I do not think that stat is an accurate indication of the supposed talent of Pittsburgh. Already having faced Cleveland once who had trouble running the ball in the first couple of weeks and also games against Atlanta whose run game is dreadful, Pittsburgh has not shut down a true running attack yet. I am not saying that Cleveland is all of a sudden the LA Rams from a running game standpoint, but I do think they try and shorten this game up and eat up the clock with a much-improved rushing attack. Not only will this shorten the game, but it will open things up much more for Baker Mayfield. Cleveland will need to keep the Steelers D off balance, and I think that is precisely what they will try to do to have success.
WHEN PITTSBURGH HAS THE BALL:
Through six games in 2018, the Pittsburgh offense is averaging 28.5 points a game which is good enough for best in the NFL. Although James Connor has been a great fill in for Le’Veon Bell, the run game is only managing to gain somewhere around 85 yards a game. The success of the Steelers offense has been the passing game. However, believe it or not, if Pittsburgh plans to have success against this Cleveland defense, they must establish a run game. Yes, Cleveland ranks just 26th in the league in passing yards allowed, but a large part of that is because opponents have attempted 295 passes against them which is good for 2nd most in the NFL behind Kansas City. The Browns defense is actually tied for the league lead in interceptions at 11, and they are only allowing opponents to pass for a 59% completion rate. Trust me, the Steelers coaching staff knows this, and they are not going to just come out and let it fly. This is going to be a ground and pound attack for Pittsburgh against the Browns…or at least it needs to be.
The weather in Pittsburgh for Sunday is calling for a 70% chance of light showers and temperatures that range from a low of 37 to a high of 50. If rain shows its face, it will make both teams run games that much more important.
Browns at Steelers Week 8 Prediction
I really like the Cleveland Browns this Sunday plus the points and here is why.
Cleveland has covered in the last four meetings between this two teams and so far this season, the betting public is very skeptical of Cleveland which is causing them to be undervalued STILL. There are usually a few more points being given to the Browns which has led to their 5-2 against the spread so far this season. I think they are a matchup nightmare for what Pittsburgh wants to do Sunday and I see this game, like many others, staying reasonably close. I like Pittsburgh to win this game straight up, but the final will be something like 24-21….and probably in overtime seeing as how most of Cleveland’s games have gone this season.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I LIKE THE CLEVELAND BROWNS PLUS THE POINTS AGAINST THE STEELERS ON SUNDAY
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