Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/31/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview (10/31/21)

A big-time AFC North rivalry takes place in Cleveland this week, as the Steelers travel to take on the Browns.

A few weeks ago, the Browns would’ve been favored by seven points. However, the Browns are teetering. They’re just 4-3 on the season and their starting quarterback is banged up. If they didn’t win last week against Denver, the season could’ve spun out of control.

The Steelers aren’t good, and they are just 3-3 as a result. However, their defense has kept them in games, and the Steelers are 5-1 to the under this season as a result.

We’re in for another low-scoring game, as the total sits at just 42.5, the lowest on the board for Week 8. Cleveland is still favored by 3.5 with Case Keenum under center.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Betting Odds

I think Cleveland is slightly overvalued in this game. They managed to beat Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos last week, but this will be a slightly tougher challenge.

Mostly because of the Steeler defense. By most accounts, the Steelers boast a top-10 defense, including ranking ninth in PFF’s defensive grades and ninth in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA. Meanwhile, the Broncos were supposed to be an elite defense but rank among the bottom-10 NFL teams in both those categories.

As mentioned, this is the lowest total on the board this week, and I’ll always take the points in those matchups. The public is all over Cleveland, but I’d sell high on them, and the Steeler defense isn’t going to let up against Cleveland — this week or ever.

My Predictions: Steelers +3.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 31
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
TV Coverage: CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Live Stream

Where can you watch Steelers vs. Browns online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Steelers vs. Browns Free Online Now.

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Injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers: Chase Claypool (Q), Melvin Ingram (Q)
Cleveland Browns: Odell Beckham Jr (Q), Nick Chubb (Q), Baker Mayfield (Q), Jarvis Landry (Q), Denzel Ward (Q), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Q),

Pittsburgh Steelers Analysis

As mentioned, it’s the Pittsburgh defense that’s driven the “success” of the Steelers so far. The Steelers have allowed the fifth-fewest yards and the sixth-fewest points in the NFL so far. They’ve been particularly stingy in the Red Zone, where Pittsburgh ranks fourth in Red Zone defense DVOA.

However, Mike Tomlin has put forward a bit of a bend-don’t-break defense, as they haven’t been all that efficient. They rank just 14th in EPA per play allowed and 19th in defensive success rate. So, maybe they’ve been a bit lucky this season so far.

Up front, this team is stout. Pittsburgh ranks third in PFF’s rush defense grades and fourth in PFF’s pressure grades. Plus, they manage to grade out so well by just rushing four guys, as the Steelers blitz at the seventh-lowest rate but get pressure at the third-highest rate.

Unfortunately, the secondary hasn’t come up that big for them. The Steelers grade out at just 25th in PFF’s coverage grades. While they’ve allowed the seventh-fewest passing yards, they’ve also allowed an 11:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The offense is, mostly, a disaster. They rank 26th in points per game, and much of that has to do with having a corpse under center. Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the least efficient quarterbacks in football this season, and the offense is hurting as a result.

But maybe the bigger issue is the run game hasn’t picked him up. Najee Harris and Co. rank 29th in rush success rate this season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry.

Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Najee Harris
RB2: Benny Snell Jr
WR1: Diontae Johnson
WR2: Chase Claypool
WR3: James Washington
TE1: Eric Ebron
TE2: Pat Freiermuth

Cleveland Browns Analysis

The 2021 Cleveland Browns are a mystery. Projected as a top AFC team in the pre-season, they’ve suffered a round of injuries that’s left them as a middling team fighting for a playoff spot. But, the team still hasn’t been good.

Specifically, this defense is a bit of a disaster. They rank in the back-half of the league in every meaningful defensive statistic, including points per game allowed (23.6), where they rank 18th.

Similar to the Steelers, the Browns have allowed the fourth-fewest yards in the NFL this season. However, instead of making plays when needed, the Browns rank 20th in Red Zone defense DVOA, and they rank 30th in Red Zone passing defense DVOA.

As expected, however, the Browns’ offense is driven by their ground game. Cleveland ranks first in rush EPA per play this season, and even when Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt went down last week, D’Ernest Johnson stepped in and rushed for 146 yards at 6.6 yards per carry.

But you could put a professional curler behind this offensive line and he’d average four yards a rush. The Browns offensive line ranks second in adjusted line yards, third in power success rate, and their running backs are getting stuffed at the second-lowest rate.

That’s what makes the Browns so dangerous. They can survive injuries to their top running backs and quarterbacks, but Kevin Stefanski feels comfortable putting backups behind them.

Cleveland Browns Depth Chart

QB: Baker Mayfield
RB1: D’Ernest Johnson
RB2: Demetric Felton
WR1: Donovan Peoples-Jones
WR2: Rashard Higgins
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
TE1: David Njoku

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Daily Fantasy Picks

With Juju Smith Schuster out last week, Diontae Johnson picked up 33% of Pittsburgh’s Target Marketshare. He’s received the most targets on the team so far this season, and I like him to dominate again this week.

As I mentioned, the Browns defense is highly questionable, and they rank 26th in passing defense EPA per play. If there was ever a time for Roethlisberger to play well, this is the week.

However, I will say I hate this game from a DFS perspective. The total is super low, and that doesn’t create a lot of upside for either team’s offensive players.

But if I was forced to pick one guy for DFS lineups from this game, I’d take Johnson.

Week 8 Matchup Previews
  • Patriots @ Falcons
  • Colts @ Bills
  • Ravens @ Bears
  • Lions @ Browns
  • Texans @ Titans
  • Vikings @ Packers
  • Dolphins @ Jets
  • Saints @ Eagles
  • Washington @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Jaguars
  • Bengals @ Raiders
  • Cowboys @ Chiefs
  • Cardinals @ Seahawks
  • Steelers @ Chargers
  • Giants @ Buccaneers
Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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