In a game that is in my top-3 watch list for Week 6, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers have a date at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon. The Browns are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL. One week the public is in love with them, and then after one poor performance from Baker Mayfield, it’s time to pile on the criticism.
There is a segment of the population that just wants to see Baker fail in the NFL. I personally don’t care what he does. My objective is to read everything impartially, and in my impartial opinion, Baker is playing really good football right now. Even the haters have to admit that much.
The Browns go into Pittsburgh with a record of 4-1 after an impressive 32-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts at home. Leading up to that game, the Browns were able to torch three bad defenses in Washington, Cincinnati, and Dallas. The big test to determine whether the Browns’ offense was for real came against the Colts.
The Colts’ defense might be a tad overrated, but you have to give credit to the Browns for that performance. Mayfield wasn’t perfect, but he was fine with 247 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. A Ronnie Harrison 47-yard pick-6 to make it a 27-10 score in the 3rd quarter was a backbreaker for the Colts.
Over in Pittsburgh last week, it was the Chase Claypool show against the Philadelphia Eagles. Claypool scored 3 receiving touchdowns and an additional touchdown on the ground. He was the go-to option for Ben Roethlisberger, as Claypool finished the day with 7 receptions and 110 yards. Claypool is no longer a secret in the Steelers’ offense, so expect to see more attention directed his way by the Browns on Sunday afternoon.
The Steelers emerged with a 38-29 win over the Eagles to advance to 4-0 on the season. Their closest contest was a 26-21 win against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. They’ve won by at least a touchdown in all of their other games in 2020. The Steelers welcome a Browns team that are banged up going into Heinz Field. There is no better time to play the Browns, but Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. will suit up. Head below for our free Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers pick for October 18, 2020.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Week 6 Betting Odds:
Browns vs. Steelers Prediction:
Odell Beckham Jr. has been cleared to play on Sunday after receiving back-to-back negative Covid-19 tests. Beckham Jr. felt ill at practice earlier in the week, but did not return a positive coronavirus test. Fortunately enough for the Browns, Baker Mayfield is set to play through an injury on Sunday.
Despite receiving a questionable designation, Mayfield practiced in full on Friday and is expected to get the greenlight in Pittsburgh. While he and Beckham are scheduled to play, there are still going to be some key players out for the Browns in this one. The status of Jarvis Landry is currently up in the air, though. He is dealing with rib and hip injuries and may not be available.
The Browns will be without the services of two starting safeties. Karl Joseph and Ronnie Harrison, who brought him 6 points last week on a pick-6, have been ruled out for Sunday afternoon. Their absence may not be a headline grabber, but Joseph and Harrison out signals a nice opportunity for Roethlisberger to do damage downfield in this matchup.
Roethlisberger has been excellent this season, having passed for 10 touchdowns and 1 interception on 69.9% completions. After missing last year, Big Ben has been on a mission to show that he still has a big arm.
Chase Claypool may not be able to repeat what he did last week, but the door could be open for a big performance from somebody else. Perhaps it’s time for JuJu Smith-Schuster to go off against an injury riddled Cleveland secondary. The Steelers should be able to exploit this Browns’ defense. Even on their healthiest of days, the Browns haven’t been too intimidating defensively.
The Browns have yielded 383.4 yards per game on defense. They’ve gotten hit hard through the air with 296.4 yards per game. Only the Falcons and Seahawks have been worse against the pass than the Browns in 2020. Now remove Joseph and Harrison on the road, and the Browns could have some big problems in Pittsburgh. Note that the Browns haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 2003. Look for that trend to continue on Sunday in Week 6.