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Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Betting Preview

The week three NFL slate kicks off with two teams facing some serious questions from last Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) offense stalled once again in a 17-14 home loss to the Patriots, while the Cleveland Browns (1-1) gave up two TDs in the final 1:22 in a 31-30 home loss to the Jets.

Both teams started the season with a win, but each came on a last-second field goal in a contest that both Pittsburgh and Cleveland easily could have (should have) lost.

Oddsmakers have a tough call setting the line for this one, but they have the Browns as -5 point favorites at home for Thursday night’s meeting.

Trubisky Time Coming to an End?

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin knew coming into the season that he was going to rely on his defense and hopefully pull out low scoring wins each week. That plan flies out the window a bit with the loss of defensive player of the year T.J. Watt (pectoral) for the foreseeable future, however.

The Steelers did get a 23-20 OT win in Cincinnati in week one, but they needed an extra point block at the end of regulation despite forcing five Bengals turnovers.

One of Pittsburgh’s TDs was a Minkah Fitzpatrick INT return, so at some point, you have to ask when the Steelers offense is going to do their part?

The obvious scapegoat for the Steelers starting out the season 30th in total yards (255) and 28th in passing (172) is QB Mitchell Trubisky. He’s completing less than 60% of his passes, is only hitting on five yards per attempt, and has a 38.4 QBR which is 25th.

If Trubisky can’t get things going against a Browns team that gave up 307 yards and four TD passes to Joe Flacco last week, it may be time to turn to first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

Short Turnaround for Disappointed Browns

Sometimes getting back on the field right away for a Thursday game is the perfect remedy for a Browns team that basically handed last Sunday’s game away.

Cleveland was up 30-17 with less than two minutes left when the Jets scored a 66-yard TD, recovered the onside kick, and then got another TD with 0:22 left to complete the shocking 31-30 victory.

Last week’s loss ruined all the momentum from the week one 26-24 win over Carolina when rookie Cade York hit a 58-yard field goal as time expired. In fact, York missed an extra point last week that was the deciding margin of victory.

Steelers at Browns Pick and Prediction

Both teams might be 1-1, but at least Cleveland is scoring as their 28.0 ppg average is seventh in the NFL. Through two games, the Pittsburgh offense has tallied two TDs and their defense one.

The Browns also have the top rush offense in the league at 200.5 ppg. That’s especially important on the short turnaround when you can just beat up on a team in the trenches like Cleveland will do on Thursday night, which will help them pull away late.

Pick: Browns -5

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