It’s safe to say that neither the Pittsburgh Steelers nor the Cleveland Browns are necessary with the quarterback they intended to have as they went into training camp. Well, truth be told, more so for the Browns, who made a bold move to sign DeShaun Watson to be the quarterback of their present and future.
These AFC North rivals, who are kind of wallowing around in the middle of the road, will meet at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, right over there near the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET, and BetOnline customers can watch it on Amazon Prime Video.
Both of these teams won their opener but lost last week. Cleveland suffered more of the psychological scar, and it’s fair to say.
The Browns were turning in a workmanlike effort against the New York Jets, and they led 24-17 with less than two minutes to play. Nick Chubb, their premier running back, took a handoff into the end zone to put his team up by 13 (an extra point missed), but honestly, since the Jets had no timeouts left, Chubb could have just taken a knee in bounds and Cleveland could have run out the clock. Because they didn’t, the Jets had a chance to get the ball back, and that was what Joe Flacco needed to throw a TD pass and then another after the Jets recovered the onside kick.
And because they had missed a PAT, the Browns walked back to the locker room as a 31-30 loser.
The Steelers, who beat defending AFC champ Cincinnati in their opener, lost 17-14 to the New England Patriots and were outgained by 133 yards. They were not able to sufficiently pressure Mac Jones, with no sacks on the day. And there were special teams mistakes as well; Gunner Olszewski, who was once an All-Pro punt returner for the Patriots, muffed a punt and lost it, leading to a New England touchdown.
Okay, there’s some good stuff too. We’ll talk about all that in a minute.
In the odds that are posted on this game by the folks at one of the NFL betting sites like BetOnline, the Browns are laying points at home:
Cleveland Browns -4 (-115)
Pittsburgh Steelers +4 (-105)
Over 38 Points -115
Under 38 Points -105
Okay, Chubb screwed up a little. But he hasn’t always done that. Last year the Browns led all NFL teams by averaging 5.1 yards per carry. This year they are on that track again, with a 5.3-yard average. They have the 1-2-3 punch in the backfield, as Chubb teams with Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson.
This is clearly what Cleveland has to establish because Jacoby Brissett, while serviceable, is nothing explosive. This season he’s averaging just 6.2 intended air yards per attempt, which means he isn’t throwing the ball very far. And his receivers are tallying less than five yards per catch after completion.
The Browns’ running game is the most proficient aspect of either side’s arsenal. And that would appear to give the Browns an advantage. But is it enough of an advantage to lay this many points?
Can we say a whole lot about the Pittsburgh offense? This team has been outgained by 314 yards over these first two games. Mitch Trubisky is averaged just a little more than five yards an attempt, and the Steeler “faithful” call for him to be benched in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett. Najee Harris could give them a chance if he could have a big game. And he has the ability to get it. And while Cleveland will be a missing injured pass rusher, Jadeveon Clowney, Pittsburgh will again be without defensive menace TJ Watt, who is on injured reserve after injuring his pectoral muscle.
What this may come down to is that we’ve got a little faith that Mike Tomlin can help his team keep things close. Both of these teams could be 2-0 or 0-2 rather than 1-1. But the Steelers have established a pretty good record as an underdog in recent times, covering eleven of their last 16 games in that situation. That leads us in the direction of taking the available points.
BetOnline offers customers a chance to wager on this game from many angles with Prop Builder. Bet on player totals, player vs. player, and game props…… Also, if you want to be in action the whole way, go the “Live Betting” route……. It’s easy to open your account because you can use your credit card as well as any kind of cryptocurrency imaginable, including Bitcoin!