This article is part of our NFL Picks series.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions
for Week 11
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The Pittsburgh Steelers will look to sweep the season series against the Cleveland Browns when they travel to FirstEnergy Stadium this Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland will naturally be without its franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson, who was declared out for the season with a shoulder injury earlier this week. The Browns made a miraculous comeback to defeat another AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, last Sunday.
Pittsburgh hopes to extend its current two-game win streak and sweep the Browns in the process. The Steelers came out on top, 26-22, the first time these two met back in September with Watson under center.
Can the Browns protect their home field and avoid being swept? Let’s take a look at the Steelers vs. Browns betting odds, picks, and predictions for the AFC North showdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns for Week 11
*Best lines at time of writing listed
Moneyline: Steelers +104 (FanDuel Sportsbook) / Browns -115 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Point spread: Steelers +1.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook) / Browns -1 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Totals: Over 32.5 points (FanDuel Sportsbook) / Under 33 points (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Despite losing their $230 million man, the Browns remain one-point favorites with under 48 hours until kickoff. After all, Watson has been dealing with this shoulder injury for several weeks, yet the Browns still find themselves at 6-3 after 10 weeks of play. Cleveland’s record has been greatly influenced by Myles Garrett and rest of a elite defense led by new coodinator Jim Schwartz.
Prior to Watson being ruled out, some books had the Browns as high as five-point favorites early on in the week. It will be interesting to monitor whether or not the downward trend continues and the Steelers end up as favorites prior to kickoff.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Betting Picks This Week
The AFC North has been, and usually is, the most competitive division in the NFL. However, this week alone has seen three superstars from the division be ruled out for the season. Watson, Mark Andrews and Joe Burrow will all miss the remainder of the year with each of the four teams sitting within two games of one another in the standings.
Sunday’s game between the long-time rivals could loom large when it comes to playoff implications and tie-breakers down the road. With both Pittsburgh and Cleveland sitting at 6-3, the Browns avoiding a season sweep would break a tie in the short term, and possibly again at the end of the season. Notably, head coach Kevin Stefanski has turned to fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson – as opposed to journeyman PJ Walker – for this pivotal divisional clash.
The 24-year-old will make the second start of his career after filling in for Watson back in Week 4. The former UCLA star had a rough landing his first professional start, completing 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions against the Ravens in Week 4. He will now face T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and the rest of the Steel Curtain, who will surely smell blood when they get a glimpse of the wide-eyed rookie.
Luckily for Thompson-Robinson, the young quarterback will have the benefit of playing with the knowledge that he has one of the best defenses behind him to help make up for any mistakes. If this game looks anything like the first time these teams met, we could be in store for a low-scoring punt-fest from two of the least explosive offenses in the league this season.
The Browns’ three-point performance last time Thompson-Robinson started gives me reason to believe the Steelers can pull this one out on the road. Stefanski will need much more out of the rookie, which may be a lot to ask at this nascent stage of his career. Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ offense should be able to do just enough to escape the Dawg Pound with a victory.
Steelers at Browns Best Bets: Steelers Moneyline (+104 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Prediction
Steelers 23, Browns 18
While the Browns will surely be handicapped offensively, I still expect them to keep things close in classic AFC North fashion. Pickett and the Steelers have a knack for pulling close games out, and I believe they will have to do so again in this instance.
Despite Minkah Fitzpatrick being ruled out for his third straight game, Pittsburgh’s defense should be able to create pressure and force mistakes by the rookie quarterback. A big emphasis will be placed by the Steelers to stop the run as that was the main component keeping Cleveland in the game the last time these two met. If the Steelers are able to make Thompson-Robinson beat them through the air, Mike Tomlin’s team should be able to sneak a win in this one.