Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Pick
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
NFL Football Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 9, 1PM EST
Where: FIRSTENERGY Stadium, Cleveland, OH.
By: Dave Wilson, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PIT -4 / CLE +4 Find the Best Sportsbooks. Then, the Best Line.
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers say they’re ready to play with or without Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. Bell has been the subject of several trade rumors, but his status will not be a distraction according to the team. Pitt will run their offense regardless and with veteran QB Big Ben behind center it should be business as usual for the Black and Yellow. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are hoping to show their faithful fans they are a better team and ready to get some wins! It will be a tall order for the Browns to steal a win over Pitt in week one. Pittsburgh seems to keep rolling year after year and a lot of that is guys knowing their roles and working well within the system—Pitt will be tough to handle, Bell or no Bell.
Pittsburgh will do what they do best—attack with a balanced offense even if it’s James Connor in the backfield rather than Bell. Connor has worked hard and if needed should prove he is capable of filling Bell’s role. No surprises here on offense, Big Ben runs the show and is a tank of a QB to bring down—Roethlisberger can complete passes with three defenders wrapping him up! Look for WR Antonio Brown to continue finding ways to get open and make big time plays—Brown pulled in 101 receptions last year for over 1500 yards and 9 TDs. Let’s not forget the other dynamic receivers at Ben’s disposal—Darrius Heyward Bey and JuJu Smith Schuster who bring a triple threat for the Browns secondary. If Cleveland can contain these guys they might be able to keep it close—maybe.
Cleveland is hoping to leave the past behind them especially after their winless season last year. The outlook is good especially with the addition of Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield on the sidelines just waiting for his chance to get on the field. However, most people in the know believe the Browns want Baker to remain on the sidelines and learn this season. If Tyrod Taylor gets injured or is not playing to the organization’s expectations then we may see Mayfield but these are likely the only scenarios that would get him on the turf. It is a truth—the Browns have not been a contender for a long while—this year is all about transition for this team from the cellar to perhaps winning some good games, but to open up at home versus the best team in their league will be incredibly difficult.
If Cleveland expects to hang with the Steelers they will need to contain the triple headed receiving monster in Brown, Heyward Bey, and Schuster. Last year the Browns focused on stopping the run but were not successful on slowing down the passing attacks. On the offensive side, it will be Tyrod Taylor vs. Ben Roethlisberger. Taylor will have to hook up with Jarvis Landry thru the air to open the run game but Pitt is always tough to run on. It will be a typical AFC battle that Pittsburgh won last year by taking both games against the Browns albeit only by slight margins (21-18 at Cleveland and 28-24 at Pitt). Cleveland is hungry this year and they know who’s coming to town on Sunday. Pitt is loaded with arguably the best receiving group in the league which will give the Cleveland D fits coupled with Roethlisberger’s experience and toughness to grind out games makes for another opening weekend win. Cleveland gets better this year but not soon enough to knock off their rival Pitt.
We like the Steelers to cover on the road.
Wilson’s Pick: The Steelers -4. Luck to ya.