Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
Two AFC North rivals collide on Thursday Night Football as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers are -14 point favorites over the Browns with an over/under point total set at 39.5.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are right in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC as they are tied for the lead with the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately for Mike Tomlin’s Steelers two of their three losses are head to head to the Ravens giving Baltimore the tiebreaker if they finish the season tied as they are now. Ben Roethlisberger is having a solid season while getting hit often as he has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 3,246 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Rashard Mendenhall is back to carrying the load in the Pittsburgh backfield and he’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry with eight touchdowns while Isaac Redman is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and scoring just one touchdown. Mike Wallace has 58 catches and eight touchdowns, Antonio Brown has 50 catches, and Heath Miller has 41 catches. Defensively Pittsburgh has 27 sacks, seven fumble recoveries, and eight interceptions for a minus six turnover ratio while they allow just 273.8 yards and 16.3 points per game. Ryan Clark has 76 tackles, Troy Polamalu has 68 tackles, and LaMarr Woodley has nine sacks. In general the team that loses the Super Bowl struggles the following year but the Pittsburgh Steelers are clearly bucking that trend.
The Cleveland Browns continue to do what their fans have grown accustomed to in recent years, struggling week after week. Pat Shurmer has his work cut out for him but how long he has to get it done in Cleveland may be another question unto itself as this team is showing little to no signs of coming together. Colt McCoy has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,524 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Peyton Hillis is back in action after being sidelined and he’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry and has two touchdowns. Greg Little has 50 catches, Benjamin Watson has 35 catches, and Josh Cribbs has 29 catches and four touchdowns. The defense is the stronger unit in Cleveland as they have 23 sacks, 11 fumble recoveries, and six interceptions for a minus one turnover ratio while they allow 324.6 yards and 20 points per game. D’Qwell Jackson has 112 tackles, Ahtyba Rubin as 59 tackles, and Jabaal Sheard has 5.5 sacks. Cleveland has been building for years but so far they have little to show for it.
Pittsburgh is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games against the AFC North, 7-2 against the spread in their last nine home games, and 3-7 against the spread following a win. Cleveland is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games, 2-10-1 against the spread following a loss, and 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games as an underdog. The favorite is 9-14-1 against the spread in the last 14 meetings of these two.
The total in this one is set at 39.5 but I just don’t see all that much offense against these two stingy defenses so for my play is the under 39.5.