The Cleveland Browns (4-1, 1-1 away) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0, 3-0 home) get together for an AFC North rivalry contest on Sunday, with both teams in contention for first place in the conference. This will be one of the better matchups between these two teams in recent memory.
Kickoff for Sunday’s contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 3.5-point favorites in the rivalry tilt, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Cleveland Browns
An opening week blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens did not derail the Browns and their focus on the 2020 season. Cleveland has rallied to win four straight since that loss, including victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. The Browns are one game back of the Steelers in the AFC North Conference.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was an interception machine last season, tossing 21 picks over 16 games. This season, he has thrown just four interceptions and connected on nine touchdown passes. The signal-caller has completed 93-for-152 for 976 yards through the first quarter of the year.
Nick Chubb landed on injured reserve with a knee injury, but Kareem Hunt took the reins last Sunday and carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards and added three receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. Hunt is expected to continue to get the bulk of the carries in Cleveland’s offense until Chubb returns later in the season.
Odell Beckham Jr. (21 receptions, 294 yards, three touchdowns) and Jarvis Landry (21 receptions, 279 yards) are the top two wide receivers for Mayfield and the Browns offense. The two have combined for nearly 50 percent of the total team receptions.
The Browns defense is allowing offenses to gain an average of 383.4 yards and surrendering 29.8 points per game this season. Cleveland leads the league in takeaways with 12 total through four contests.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have themselves in familiar territory atop the AFC North standings with a perfect record. The Steelers’ opponents this season have a combined record of 3-13-1, however. This early-season matchup is key for the Steelers, who have to travel to Tennessee and Baltimore in the following weeks.
Roethlisberger has completed 100-for-143 passes for 1,106 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception this season. Big Ben only played in two games during the 2019 campaign before being sidelined for the season with an elbow injury.
Running back James Conner suffered an ankle injury in the Week 1 contest, which has limited his performance, but he has looked good over the last three contests. Conner has carried the ball 55 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns while also being used in the passing game with 11 receptions for 82 yards.
Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has emerged as a primary target for Roethlisberger this season. The talented wideout drafted out of Notre Dame caught three touchdown passes last week in the Steelers’ win against Philadelphia. On the season, Claypool has 13 receptions for 261 yards and four scores.
Pittsburgh’s defense is also back and performing to expectations of your typical Steelers defensive unit. The Steelers are third in the league in yards allowed (301.5) and sixth in points allowed (21.8) through the first quarter of the season.
The Pick Is In
These two teams are both riding four-game winning streaks as they collide this Sunday. In their last 10 matchups, the Steelers are 8-1-1 against the Browns straight-up and 4-5-1 against the spread. The under has hit in six of the last 10 contests as well.
This game should be a classic rivalry battle with both teams going back and forth with each other. Pittsburgh should be able to narrowly cover the spread, and we expect this game to hit the over.