MNF Pick: Browns vs. Steelers Week 2

by | Last updated Sep 16, 2023 | nfl

Cleveland Browns (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)

Date/Time: Monday, September 18, 8:15 PM EST

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.


Point Spread: Cle -1.5 / Pit +1.5 (Got a few mins? It’d be wise to learn about reduced juice! Saves $!)

Over/Under Total: 41.5

Heinz Field will be rocking for the nightcap of the Week 2 MNF doubleheader when the Browns pay a visit to the Steelers. BOVADA.LV makes Cleveland 1.5 point road favorites, and the game total 41.5. This is the perfect chance to buy low on the Steelers and sell high on the Browns, so the play here is to take the Steelers to cover at home. Here is the handicap.

Pittsburgh’s Offense Will Rebound

The Steelers thought they were on a roll coming into their Week 1 clash with the 49ers after a strong finish last year and an impressive pre-season. San Francisco squashed all of those thoughts early in the 1st quarter on Sunday. Pittsburgh managed only 3.9 yards per play, with QB Kenny Pickett looking bad – throwing two picks and averaging only 4.1 yards per attempt on 46 attempts. In very un-Steeler-like fashion, Pittsburgh only ran the ball ten times and had very little success. Their biggest issue was the offensive line, that got rolled over all game, as Pickett took five sacks and was under pressure from the opening kick. Week 1 will serve as a loud wake-up call for the Steeler offense, and I think they get back on track this week. They will again be facing a defense that can pressure the quarterback, so the Steeler O-line will have to be on their A-game this week, but look for that unit to lead the rebound. San Fran was able to rush out to a lead, and Pittsburgh abandoned the run early, which shouldn’t happen this week against the Browns. Pittsburgh should have a more balanced attack this week that will keep play-action passes on the table. WR George Pickens is the Steeler deep threat, but he averaged only 7 yards per catch last week due to the constant pressure. Look for a couple of deep completions to Pickens this week and more success from the Black and Gold on offense.

The Browns defense wreaked havoc on the Bengal offense from the opening kick-off in week 1, limiting Cincinnati to only 142 yards. They sacked Joe Burrow twice but didn’t take the ball away. The Bengals couldn’t get receivers open and couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Myles Garrett is an elite pass rusher in the league and will look to live in the backfield on Monday night. I think Cleveland’s defense is a very good unit, but I also think they caught Cincinnati sleepwalking last week. I don’t think they will go into the Steel City and dominate the game in week two like they did at home last week.

Watson Still Isn’t Right

Cleveland’s offense was clicking in week 1, but I think a lot of that was the result of their defense keeping them on the field all day. The Browns possessed the ball for almost 36 minutes in Week 1 and wore down the Bengal defense to the point that they managed two touchdowns and three field goals. They ran 72 plays and averaged 4.9 yards per play but were carried by the running game. Nick Chubb topped the century mark on only 18 carries, and three other runners totaled 100 yards on 22 carries. But Watson still wasn’t anything special as a passer, completing just 55% of his 29 passes while throwing one TD and one interception. He was sacked three times and especially struggled to connect with his outside receivers. I look for the same lack of efficiency this week for the Brown offense, but don’t expect their defense will bail them out. If Watson doesn’t play better this week, Cleveland will not have the same result.

Pittsburgh’s defense was as overwhelmed in Week 1 as their offense was. They had no answer to the 49ers’ quick passing game, and couldn’t cover wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk or slow down Christian McCaffrey on the ground. McCaffrey rolled to 152 rushing yards, including a 65-yard touchdown. Although the defense was overpowered last week, this is one of the top defenses in the league and should recover in week 2. They know the Brown offense, and I think they play this week like we were expecting them to play last week. This isn’t a unit that gets taken to the woodshed two weeks in a row, so count on the Browns’ offense struggling to points up in week 2.

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Tomlin Will Have The Steelers Ready

The most surprised person watching the shellacking the Steelers took last Sunday was probably Mike Tomlin. Tomlin will own it and will not make excuses, but I don’t think he will tolerate back-to-back duds to open the season. I think the Steelers’ execution will be exquisite Monday and will make the Browns earn everything they get. On the flip side, Cleveland played a very good game in Week 1. Now, they have to prove they can repeat that strong performance in a hostile environment. Although they will rely on the running game, there will be a point in this game when Watson has to make plays for Cleveland to come out victorious. Watson still looks like he has some rust from his long football hiatus, and I don’t trust him to put his team on his shoulders and carry them to a win.

Play The Steelers on Monday Night Football

It’s a little hard to put our hard-earned money on a team that looked so bad last week, and against a team that looked so good last week. But the Steelers are a lot better than they looked last week, and the Browns are not as good as they looked, so there is a lot of value on the Steelers. The play is Pittsburgh as short home dogs on MNF. Bet your MNF predictions for FREE all month by scoring a massive 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 when you use bonus code PREDICTEM at BetUS Sportsbook!