Week 6 Preview: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelersby Christopher Gallagher October 17, 2020 0 comments
Trying to win their first game in the Steel City in over 17 years, the surging Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6. Under new head coach Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland is 4-1 for the first time since the 1994 season. The Browns have turned into a run-heavy offense, leading the league with over 188 yards per game on the ground. The Steelers (4-1) are once again a team to watch out for in the AFC, enjoying the return of their future Hall Of Fame quarterback. Ranked in the top ten in both points scored on offense and points allowed on defense, Mike Tomlin‘s team has played stellar football early on. In a game that has the makings of an old school AFC North slugfest, here’s what to expect in this Week 6 matchup.
Cleveland is off to its best start in over 20 years. The 2020 NFL season has been a revitalization for the Browns. Transforming into a run-first offense under Stefanski, quarterback Baker Mayfield is averaging the lowest passing totals of his career through five contests, leaning heavily on the league’s No. 1 rushing attack to win games. They did not miss a beat after the loss of starting running back Nick Chubb to an MCL injury, and the Browns are currently averaging over 5.5 yards per carry.
The Browns have finally been able to keep Mayfield upright with the offseason addition of Jack Conklin and the return of last year’s first-round draft choice Jedrick Wills on the offensive line. Now, Cleveland will face their toughest challenge of the season against the NFL’s No. 2-ranked run defense. Allowing a measly 64 rush yards per game through five contests this season, Pittsburgh has yet to allow an opposing rusher to top 80 yards against them, making the battle in the trenches a key factor in who comes away on top.
On the flip side of the field, the Steelers are back amongst the most formidable offensive teams in the league with the return of Ben Roethlisberger. Having scored at least 26 points in each of their four contests, the team is without their usual big-time cast of characters. Instead, they have relied on younger players to make contributions. One week removed from a four-touchdown performance in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie Chase Claypool will once again be relied upon in the matchup, as second-year wideout Diontae Johnson is already ruled out.
Struggling mightily against the pass this season, Cleveland is giving up over 296 passing yards per game through five weeks. They are now ranked 30th in the NFL and dead last in the AFC. Without depth behind number one cornerback Denzel Ward, Joe Wood’s group could be in for a long day on Sunday if the Steelers passing game begins to heat up.
The most intriguing matchup to watch in this one will be how the Pittsburgh offensive line handles star pass rusher Myles Garrett. Facing the Steelers for the first time since their brawl in Week 11 of last season, Garrett is off to a tremendous start in 2020. He has racked up six sacks and three forced fumbles in just five games. Pittsburgh is tied for the fewest amount of sacks allowed in the league this year; their offensive line has been dominant all year long, making this a matchup to watch.
Date: October 18, 2020
Start Time: 1:00 P.M. est
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: CLE +3.5 (-110) | PIT -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: CLE +165 | PIT -205
Over/Under: O 51 (-110) | U 51 (-110)
Covering the spread in each of their last couple games (and three of four games overall), the Steelers are worth a look in this one to cover the three and a half points. Cleveland has gone 0-2 against the spread in divisional games this season and is just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games at Heinz Field. With the home team covering in four straight games in this matchup and with both of these offenses coming in red hot, take the Steelers to cover along with the over in this one.
This game features an imposing matchup between the league’s top-ranked rushing attack against a second-ranked Pittsburgh run defense. This one could go either way. Expect Browns’ head coach Stefanski to pull out all the stops trying to defeat their division rival. However, with Pittsburgh allowed to have fans inside Heinz Field for the first time on Sunday and sporting a red-hot passing attack, Tomlin’s team will be too much to overcome in a hard-fought AFC North battle.
Final Score: Cleveland 20, Pittsburgh 28
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