The Browns have dropped their last four and head into Pittsburgh while the Steelers edged Oakland last week. Let’s analyze this AFC North showdown & determine which side to place our NFL picks.
Cleveland Browns (2-7 SU, 3-5-1 ATS)
Johnny Football had some moments last week – good moments –but there just weren’t enough of them and they were limited to the first half as the Browns got blown out 31-10 by the division leading and undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. Manziel finished with 15-of-33 passing for 168 yards and a touchdown but most importantly no bone-headed picks. He was sacked three times but when he was upright he did a good job of searching for his targets and spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. He hit Duke Johnson Jr. on a 12-yard toss for the Browns’ only touchdown of the game in the second quarter. That would be the last time they would score as the offense was shutdown tight by the Bengals in the second half managing only 32 yards and two first downs.
To be fair the Browns were missing two key pieces on defense as Joe Haden and Donte Whitner were on the trainer’s table while wide receivers Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins were also out with concussions. Cleveland was able to contain Andy Dalton and the Bengal’s offense to a pair of touchdowns in the first half but could not keep pace as Dalton had three touchdowns and 234 yards passing on the day while the Bengals running attack gashed the Browns for 152 yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4 SU, 4-3-2 ATS)
If you included Pittsburgh in your NFL picks last week you had to feel pretty good about your bet after Big Ben lofted a four yards pass to Jesse James to make it 35-21 less than a minute after he had hit Martavis Bryant for a 14-yard strike, both early in the fourth quarter. The NFL odds makers had installed the Steelers as five-point home chalk. But the ending was only a happy one for those that wagered on the visiting Raiders who stormed back with two TD’s of their own to knot the game at 35 until Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell made an 18-yard chip shot to give the Steelers the 38-35 win. In the midst of all of this was an outstanding performance by Antonio Brown who hauled in 17 catches for 284 receiving yards.
The win was not without its consequences however as injury-riddled quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a mild foot sprain that will most likely sideline him for this Sunday’s game against the Browns. However, Roethlisberger had this to say about the injury, “The [Week 11] bye will come at a good time, but I’m not even going to rule myself out this week. I’m going to take it one day at a time. … I can walk on it. I’m not running around or anything but the smart thing to do, from what doc has told me and the trainers is just to kinda keep ice on it and get the swelling out and just kind of rest it, let it heal.”
As of this moment the NFL odds makers have made the Steelers a 4 ½ point favorite, assuming I am sure, that Landry Jones will be under center on Sunday. Yet the line still feels inordinately low to me. The Browns are going to go with veteran Josh McCown if he is healthy enough to suit up. But that’s the thing, even if McCown does go he won’t be one-hundred percent which is why I am hoping Landry Jones does go for Pittsburgh because I feel as though Roethlisberger will be hobbled by his sprained foot which affect everything from his mobility in the pocket to the way he throws the ball.
I’m siding with the better team at home who I feel is at least a touchdown better than their rivals in this one. Here are a few stats to consider:
Steelers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
Browns are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 10.
NFL Pick: Play the Steelers -4 ½ at GTBets