Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Matchup Preview - September 22nd, 2022

Editor

The Pittsburgh Steelers come in as 4.0 point road underdog as they travel to FirstEnergy Stadium to play the Cleveland Browns. The last time these two teams played each other was Week 17 in 2021. That game resulted in a road win for the Steelers with a final score of 26-14. Prior to that game, oddsmakers believed it was a even matchup. There was no spead or a favorite and it was considered a pick 'em game. The Game Total for that game was 43.5 and which the Under hit.

Pittsburgh's biggest weakness has been their rushing offense, checking in at #31 in the league with a mere 3.43 yards per carry. The key component of any team's ground game is their offensive line. The best running back can't do much if the line doesn't open up holes for them, and the worst running back can find success if he's given open space. It should come as no surprise then that Pittsburgh's o-line ranks #4-worst in this regard. In failing to successfully establish the run, Pittsburgh has also had trouble moving the ball through the air, averaging a paltry 6.17 yards per target, which ranks them #29 in football. This represents a particular disadvantage for Pittsburgh given that the Browns have excelled in stopping the run this year, allowing just 4.3 yards per carry (#8-best in the league). In terms of their defense, the Steelers have ranked #23 in the league in total yards allowed per game. Opposing offenses have passed for 229 yards per game through the air against them (#13 in football). On the ground, opposing ball-carriers have ranked #30 with 4.93 yards per carry. Pittsburgh has been most effective in shutting down opposing tight ends, holding them to 38 yards per game (#6-best). Pittsburgh has been least effective in shutting down opposing running backs, giving up 42 yards per game (#6-worst).

Cleveland's primary advantage has been their run offense, which ranks #2 in football at 5.07 yards per carry. The most important component of a strong ground game is a good offensive line. If the line isn't opening up holes and creating space, it doesn't matter how good a team's running backs are. To that point, Cleveland's line ranks #1-best in the league in run blocking. When it comes to their defense, the Browns check in at #12 in football when it comes to total yards allowed per game. Opposing air attacks have notched 230 yards per game against Cleveland this year (#14 in football). Opposing ball-carriers have ranked #8 against them with 4.3 yards per ground attempt. This Browns defense hits their peak effectiveness when it comes to defending opposing running backs, keeping them in check at just 31 yards per game (#9-best in the league). Cleveland's defensive effectiveness bottoms out when it comes to defending opposing running backs, who have caught 85.7% of their passes (#5-highest in the league).

Pittsburgh Steelers Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects the Steelers to call the 11th-least total plays among all teams this week with 60.5 plays, based on their underlying tendencies and game dynamics.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive ends project as the 3rd-best collection of DEs in the NFL since the start of last season in regard to stopping the run.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone no-huddle on 15.2% of their play-calls outside the two-minute warning since the start of last season (5th-most in the NFL). This quickens the pace, resulting in more volume and stat accumulation.

Cleveland Browns Insights

  • The Cleveland Browns will be forced to utilize backup QB Jacoby Brissett in this game, which generally means fewer pass attempts and more rushes.

  • Jacoby Brissett's throwing precision has been refined this year, with his Completion% increasing from 60.5% to 64.8%.

  • The Sharp Model projects Kareem Hunt to notch 0.16 receiving TDs in this contest, on average, ranking him in the 90th percentile among RBs.

Betting Trends

  • The Cleveland Browns have hit the Team Total Under in 5 of their last 8 games at home (+2.65 Units / 29% ROI)

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have hit the Moneyline in 9 of their last 16 games (+6.65 Units / 32% ROI)

  • Chase Claypool has hit the Receiving Yards Under in 11 of his last 16 games (+4.55 Units / 23% ROI)