Steelers vs Browns Prediction, Pick: NFL Week 11 Odds
Steelers vs. Browns odds have Cleveland as a 2.5-point home favorite with a game total of 34.5, which is still the lowest of NFL Week 11 but is up from 33 earlier on Sunday morning, and I'm still backing the Dawg Pound for my Steelers vs. Browns prediction, even without Deshaun Watson.
The Browns were dealt a devastating blow this week as quarterback Watson was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Now, with a backup QB in Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the Browns face a Steelers defense built on causing problems for opposing quarterbacks.
Let’s dig in and see if Cleveland can withstand the loss of Watson or if Pittsburgh and T.J. Watt will be too much. Continue reading below for my Steelers vs. Browns prediction.
Steelers vs Browns Odds & Pick | NFL Week 11
Steelers vs Browns Prediction
The Browns have played at a respectable level in games led by backup quarterbacks this year. They are 2-2, beating the 49ers and Colts, and went down to the wire with the Seahawks in Seattle. The only glaring mark was their blowout loss to the Ravens.
However, the Browns didn’t know they would turn to a backup that game until pregame warmups, per CBS. The more we see the Browns without their starter, the more that Baltimore game looks like an aberration.
In an interesting move, the Browns have decided to start rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson over P.J. Walker. Walker was the quarterback who led Cleveland over the 49ers and Colts. Walker’s PFF grade on the year is just 30.8 and he has the highest turnover-worthy play rate of any quarterback with 100 dropbacks. The move to DTR signals that the Browns want a quarterback who gives their defense a chance to win.
With how good the Browns defense has been, you can't blame them. They rank first in yards allowed per drive, second in points allowed per drive and are top 10 against both the pass and run.
Since the bye in Week 5, the defense has taken it up another level through turnovers. In the first four weeks, Cleveland averaged 0.75 turnovers per game. In the last five, turnovers per game is up to 2.4. Cleveland’s defense will keep the team in the game and create scoring opportunities for the offense.
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Turning to the Steelers, the discrepancy between their production and record is baffling. They are 6-3 despite being outgained in every game this season. Their offense ranks 30th in yards per drive and 28th in points per drive while their defense ranks 28th in yards per drive allowed.
So, how have they managed to win?
They do three things excellently:
- Create turnovers
- Prevent red-zone touchdowns
- Kenny Pickett blows up in the second half.
Defensively, the Steelers play through T.J. Watt and the pressure he creates. Watt leads the league in pressure (per PFF), is second in sacks and is tied for most fumble recoveries for a defensive player.
While the defense has not been a traditional powerhouse that stops offenses from moving the ball, Watt’s timely playmaking and ability to create and influence turnovers vaults the Pittsburgh defense up to 10th in points allowed per drive. An excellent position given the yardage they allow.
While the Pittsburgh defense keeps things close, you don’t win six one-score games without your offense making clutch plays — that is exactly what Pickett has done. In the first half, Pickett has a quarterback rating of 69.3 and completes 56% of his passes. In the second half, those numbers skyrocket to a 95.4 rating and 68% completion percentage.
The clutch play by Pickett has been the game-clinching difference in those one-score games.
Steelers vs. Browns
Betting Picks & Predictions
In the first iteration of this matchup, we saw a classic Steelers game. The offense was completely shut down but the defense created two touchdowns as Pittsburgh narrowly escaped with a win.
The Steelers ran no plays inside the Browns' 30 and, if not for a blown coverage, wouldn’t have even sniffed the end zone on offense. The Steelers offense may have improved, but they are facing a more aggressive version of the Browns defense, a unit that knows it needs to create winning plays, not simply stop the offense.
As for the Browns offense, they had a couple of big plays that boosted their yardage totals but their turnovers and touchdowns allowed outweighed any value added. In the rematch, Kevin Stefanski knows he simply needs to make sure his offense doesn’t make the defense’s job any harder.
I trust the Browns to have similar success against Pittsburgh without the 14 points handed via defensive touchdowns.
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