Cleveland Browns @

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mon, Jan 3
5:15 PM Pacific
Rotation: 131
Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5, Total: 41

Game Analysis

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1-Star Best Bet – *Cleveland (+2.5 -105) over PITTSBURGH

This line has moved 6 points mostly because Cleveland was eliminated from the playoffs yesterday while Pittsburgh still has a pulse and wants to send out Big Ben with a win in his final home game. I’m sure they do. However, the Steelers being in a must win situation, or wanting to win, does not make them a better team. If they were good enough to win whenever they needed to then they wouldn’t be in a must win situation to begin with. Teams that need to win in the final two weeks of the regular season to avoid playoff elimination are just 67-101-5 ATS against teams that have already been eliminated, and this is a classic case of the public overreacting to a team needing to win.

Pittsburgh’s defense has limited Baker Mayfield to 225 or fewer passing yards in every matchup of his career, but the Browns likely won’t need much from their QB on Monday night. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb had 184 scrimmage yards last week and he could top that in this game versus a Steelers rush defense ranked last in the league and surrendering 6.8 yards per target to opposing RBs. Edge defender TJ Watt had 1.5 sacks against Cleveland in week 8 and he will likely get to Mayfield again as backup RT Blake Hance ranks 50th in pass blocking efficiency out of 55 qualifying tackles. Browns Center JC Tretter (4th in pass blocking efficiency) should be back on the field this week alongside LG Joel Bitonio (3rd in pass blocking efficiency) to neutralize Cameron Heyward 51 pressures (7th).

This is looking like Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game as the veteran is averaging only 5.7 yppp this year and has strongly hinted at retirement. Cleveland’s pass defense ranks 7th by our metrics and Roethlisberger will likely struggle unless he can find some of that old magic in a do-or-die situation for Pittsburgh.

Our model favors the Browns by 5.0 points, with a predicted total of 41.7 points. It’s possible that the Browns could shut down some banged up players for the rest of the season, but that’s really rare in the second to last week of the season and there would need to be 7.5 points worth of players out for the model to think this current line is fair, which is not going to be the case. If Baker Mayfield happens to sit out, that’s not an issue either, as Mayfield’s level of play this season is not much any better than veteran backup Case Keenum’s level of play over his career. Cleveland is a 1-Star Best Bet at +1 and the only reason it’s not a 2-Star Best Bet is due to a minor level of uncertainty.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Browns
  • Steelers


  • Pass Plays 33.13 35.87
  • Succ Pass Plays 45.9% 43.7%
  • Sack Rate 7.8% 6.9%
  • Int Rate 2.2% 2.4%
  • Deep Pass Rate 22.0% 15.9%
  • Big Pass Yards 38.2% 37.1%
  • NYPP 6.06 6.00


  • Rush Plays 28.27 25.87
  • RB YPR 5.18 4.07
  • Stuff Rate 19.6% 24.5%
  • Succ Rush Plays 49.3% 47.9%
  • Big Rush Yards 54.8% 39.5%
  • Yards Per Rush 5.13 4.09


  • All Snaps 61.40 61.73
  • Early Down Succ 51.2% 47.8%
  • Succ Rate 47.4% 45.5%
  • Big Yards Rate 44.9% 37.9%
  • Yards Per Play 5.63 5.20
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.8% 0.5%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 30.27 28.13
  • Run Ratio 46.0% 41.9%
  • Starting Field Pos 0.00 0.00
  • Game Control 1.02 -1.02
  • Points 21.07 21.80
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