Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Picks and Preview - 09/22/2022

by James Q

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Picks and Preview - 09/22/2022

Game Time:  8:15  pm ET,  Thursday, September 22nd, 2021
Venue:  FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
Where to Watch:  Amazon Prime

Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

BetMGM:  Spread: Steelers +5, Browns -5; O/U 38.5
Caesars: Spread:  Steelers +5, Browns -5; O/U 38.5
FanDuel: Spread: Steelers +4.5, Browns -5; O/U 38.5

Season Record

Steelers: 1-1, tied for first AFC North
Browns: 1-1, tied for 1st AFC North

After the first two games the AFC North is a mystery.  The Cincinnati Bengals were in last year’s super bowl… and were widely considered the best team, with the best quarterback, in the AFC North.  They are now 0-2 and in sole possession of last place.  The Steelers, Ravens, and Browns are all 1-1.  The Good news for the Bengals is that one of these teams will lose this game.  The Steelers are undergoing a change from the last 15 seasons of Big Ben running the show… They now have Mitch Trubisky at QB… while the fans occasionally chant for first round pick and local product Kenny Pickett to take the job.  Things will be tense in Pittsburgh.  The Browns signed a huge quarterback during the offseason to the biggest fully guaranteed contract ever handed out and it is not even close…. Yet that guy, Deshaun Watson, is suspended for having been a bizarre sexual predator on masseuses during his time in Houston… he will miss the first 11 game of the season… The team has opted to go with good guy Jacoby Brissett, who is playing OK, while entrusting the wins to the defense.  Both teams are on an odd bubble where they could roll off wins or losses with shaky quarterback play.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Game 2 of the season to the New England Patriots 17-14.  The Steelers defense is hobbled a bit while missing star outside linebacker TJ Watt, who is out indefinitely with a left pectoral injury.  The Steelers did not look horrible having tied the game at the end of regulation and forcing overtime… but in that overtime the Steelers offense did nothing and ultimately they lost the game to a Patriots team with Mac Jones at quarterback.  This team has a great coach, that is undeniable when you look at his never having had a losing record… but they will need some clarity at quarterback.  It’s that simple.  If they have any inkling that they will move to Pickett they should do it now… If instead they really really want Pickett to sit for a year… they need to say it out loud so Trubisky can let the ball go without fear of being pulled.

The Cleveland Browns lost Game 2 to the NEW YORK JETS 31-30.  They absolutely did not see that happening! Especially since the Jest were down by two touchdowns with 2:32 left in the game.  The Jets decided to give Joe Flacco a look and he marched the team down the field for a quick score… Then the stunningly plucky Jets pulled off the nearly impossible onsides kick… and scored AGAIN!  The Browns had victory snatched from them by the Flacco bogeyman.  A big problem for the Browns boiled down to a missed extra point by rookie kicker Cade York… the same guy who made a 58 yard field goal to beat the Carolina Panthers in Week 1.  What we know about this TOUGH Cleveland defense is they lost 31-30 after being up 30-17 with only 2 ½ minutes left in the game…. To THE JETS!  So they aren’t a sure thing against anybody… until they get the debut of their sexual predator.
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Preview and Analysis

PIT: 1-1, 1-0-1 ATS, 0-2 O/U… They are 1-0 on the road.
CLE: 1-1, 1-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U… They are 0-1 at home.

Offensive Analysis

The Steelers are 24th in points per game with 18.5, 26th in yards per game with 255, 28th in passing yards with 172, and 26th in rushing yards with 83 per game.  After two games it is obvious this Steelers team has trouble moving the ball.  A small sample size can change average easily… but still they aren’t lighting up the field.

The Browns are 7th in points per game with 28, 7th in total yards per game with 380, 26th in passing yards per game with 179.5 per game, and 2nd in rushing yards with 200.5 yards per game.  This is a team that relies heavily on Nick Chubb to make the offense go.  QB Jacoby Brissett is simply not a great passer after years in the league.  Jacoby has Amari Cooper to toss the ball to and he has… but the overall attack is not great… yet?

Defensive Analysis

The Steelers defense is 28th in defending total yards while allowing 404 per game, 30th in defending passing yards with 275.5 given up per game, and 22nd in defending rushing yards with 128.5.  They rank 13th in defending points while holding the first two opponents to 18.5 per game… but that is really a function of field goals and turnovers… if the first few numbers hold they will drop like a rock in defending points.

The Browns defense is 14th in defending total yards with 331.5 per game, 26th in defending passing yards with 258 per game, and 4th in defending rushing yards with 73.5 per game… Prior to the 4th quarter of the Jets game the Browns would have finished in the top ten in defending points but fell all the way to 26th with an average of 27.5 (thanks to those two touchdowns).  Myles Garrett is a total stud who has 3 sacks on the season in just 2 games.  However he also provides a blueprint for the teams they play against… It is simply “go the other way… go quick”.  Myles will need more help to be a game changer.  That help needs to come from the secondary.

Steelers vs Browns Prediction

Our prediction for Thursday, September 22nd is… Steelers 21 - Browns 17

The bet here is for the Steelers.  Hang on to the points.  Yes, Nick Chubb will run the ball well, but the Browns passing attack is nowhere to be found yet.  The Steelers have a dual advantage by having a more experienced coach and QB.

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NFL Betting Trends

The Steelers are 94-62 ATS as an underdog since 1992.
The Browns are 1-5 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points the last 3 seasons.
The Browns are 8-19 ATS against conference opponents the last 3 seasons.

Key Injuries

Steelers: LB TJ Watt Out ** LB D Bush (foot) Quest

Browns: DE J Clowney Out ** CB G Williams Out ** QB D Watson (perv) OUT


Starting Lineups

Steelers: QB Mitch Trubisky, RB Najee Harris, WR Diontae Johnson, WR Chase Claypool, WR George Pickens, TE Pat Freiermuth, FB Derek Watt, LT Dan Moore Jr, LG Kevin Dotson, C Mason Cole, RG James Daniels, RT Chukwuma Okorafor
Browns: QB Jacoby Brissett, RB Nick Chubb, WR Amari Cooper, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR David Bell, TE David Njoku, LT Jedrick Wills Jr, LG Joel Bitonio, C Ethan Pocic, RG Wyatt Teller, RT Jack Conklin

Statistical Leaders


Weather Forecast

Rainy.  Showers.  64*, Humidity 65%, Wind 16 mph.  The weather says to expect a drab night for Thursday night football.  The Dog pound should get soaked and smell like… well, the dog pound.  I keep saying it… but it is about time the NFL took their multi-billion dollar a year business and required DOMES on every stadium.  Since the whole world is betting on the NFL… since most of the known universe has a fantasy squad… since tickets are too expensive for the average middle class family in every NFL stadium… Let’s take the weather out of the equation.  It could still be cold if the home team insists on maintaining some kind of winter advantage (they could just roof it while leaving the sides open) …. But the fans are owed a true head to head matchup of the best athletes in the world playing a full contact sport.  It stinks that two weeks into the NFL season and we have already seen multiple game outcomes have more to do with rain than seeing what the offense could actually do if they could get their footing.  AND winter is coming!  

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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