Browns at Steelers Game Preview: Sunday 1 PM 11/19/23

November 18, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 11 Game Breakdown and Picks

1 – DTR 

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson makes his second-ever start in the NFL and for the Cleveland Browns. The key for DTR is finding WR Amari Cooper and TE David Njoku. Also, when running, slide to help with injuries and turnovers.

2 – Defense!

The Browns will again need the defense to step up, and they should go against the Steeler’s offense, which has a hard time scoring points. The Browns are in the bottom third of the league in points scored. 

Make the Steelers throw the ball to win, and keep the run game from getting going.

3 – Run

The Browns need to get their running game cranked up. They are tied for second in the NFL in rushing yards per game.  Especially against the Pitt, allow the running game to control the clock, and field position to wear out the Steeler defense.


The Steelers are tied for the best turnover margin in the NFL at plus ten, the Browns are negative four.  Cleveland can’t turn the ball over.

RISE UP CLEVELAND!!! Browns win 19-10, give the 1.5.

Cleveland Browns Notes

The Cleveland Browns are emerging as a formidable force, mirroring Pittsburgh’s success with four wins in their last five games. Their lone setback was a close road defeat to the Seahawks. Cleveland showcased dominance by defeating the Cardinals 27-0 in week nine and orchestrating a remarkable 33-31 comeback road victory against the Ravens last week, overcoming a 17-3 deficit. This significant triumph brought them within 0.5 games of the division’s top spot, and they’ve covered the spread in three consecutive matchups.

In a recent announcement on Wednesday, Cleveland revealed that Deshaun Watson will be sidelined for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. Watson, with 1115 passing yards and a 7:4 TD-to-INT ratio in six games, will be replaced by rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has seen limited action this season with 130 passing yards, no TDs, and three interceptions.

Despite the absence of Nick Chubb, Jerome Ford has admirably filled the void, rushing for 107 yards last week and reaching the 100-yard mark twice this season. The 24-year-old has accumulated 532 rushing yards with an average of 4.3 yards per rush. Amari Cooper continues to excel, recording at least 89 receiving yards in three consecutive games and amassing 715 receiving yards for the year. Cleveland’s offense is potent, scoring at least 27 points in three of their last four contests.

While the Browns’ defense wasn’t at its peak last week, it remains one of the best units in the NFL. In five home games this year, they’ve allowed only 51 points. Despite giving up 31 points to the Ravens last week, it came on just 306 total yards. The pass defense ranks first, while the rush defense is solid, standing eighth.

Cleveland averages 23.8 points, ranking them 10th in the NFL, and concedes an average of 18.9 points, placing them fifth in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers Notes

The Pittsburgh Steelers are aiming for their third consecutive victory, having triumphed in four of their last five matchups. Their lone defeat during this stretch was a 20-10 decision against the Jaguars in week eight. Notably, they secured a 20-16 win against the Titans two weeks ago and emerged as 3.5-point favorites in a 23-19 home victory against the Packers last week. Positioned in the 1st wildcard spot in the AFC, the team faces a significant challenge in the next two games against the Browns and Bengals. Impressively, the Steelers have covered the spread in four of their last five games.

Kenny Pickett hasn’t posted impressive numbers in an offense that relies heavily on the run. Last week, Pickett recorded 126 passing yards, accumulating a season total of 1616 passing yards with a 6:4 TD to INT ratio.

The Steelers continue to heavily involve Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren in their running game. Harris had a standout performance last week, rushing for 82 yards, bringing his season total to 465 rushing yards. Warren has been productive in his last two outings with 189 rushing yards, maintaining a 365-yard total on 5.1 yards per rush. On the receiving end, George Pickens has been relatively quiet, registering 45 yards in his last two games. Despite leading the squad with 566 receiving yards, the Pittsburgh offense is not known for its flashy plays and, at times, appears to lack creativity, ranking 29th in total yards per game.

The Steelers’ success in recent games can be attributed to their formidable defense, which has kept opponents to 20 or fewer points in the last five matchups. Throughout the year, the defensive unit has allowed more than 20 points only twice. Despite conceding 399 total yards, they managed to hold the Packers to 19 points in the previous week. The pass defense is currently ranked 26th, and the rush defense is positioned at 25th, but the team is excelling with an average of 3.3 sacks per game.

In terms of offensive performance, Pittsburgh is averaging 17.3 points this season, placing them at the 25th position. On the defensive side, they are effectively limiting opponents to 20.2 points per game, securing the 13th spot in the league.

Best Bets for Browns vs. Steelers – Week 11

A week ago, Deshaun Watson cashed in on his passing attempts for us, along with Amari Cooper destroying his receiving yards line for a third-straight 2-0 week. The Browns came out of Sunday with an emotional comeback win but lost Watson for the season. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is making his second career start this week at home versus the Steelers, and I expect him to be much more ready this time out. Here are the best bets for Browns versus Steelers in Week 11.

Jerome Ford over 13.5 rushing attempts (-160)

Jerome Ford has been over this line in five of nine games this season, including having 17 carries last week in Baltimore. Since returning from injury in the second half of the Seattle game, Ford has received 45% or more of the rushing share, which is up from his season average of 39%. Earlier this year versus the Steelers, Ford saw 16 carries despite coming in relief of Nick Chubb in the first half.

The Steelers see 29 rushing attempts against them per game, which ranks 25th in the NFL. The only three teams to miss this line were the Ravens, with Lamar Jackson taking away a lot of work, the pass-heavy Rams, and the Packers, who saw Aaron Jones get 13 carries but lost nine to AJ Dillon. With Watson out, the run game is likely to be way more emphasized. While that will definitely result in a larger role for Kareem Hunt as well, there will be plenty of work for both backs, and Ford should cover this line easily.

David Njoku has over 30.5 receiving yards (-110)

David Njoku has covered this line in five of nine games this season and is coming off a game where he saw six catches on nine targets for 58 yards. The Browns utilized their tight end primarily in the short pass game to allow him to get in space and make plays, and I expect a heavy dose of that with DTR at quarterback. Njoku has six or more targets in the last four games and has eight or more in three of the last four.

Earlier this year versus Pittsburgh, Njoku finished with 48 yards on just four targets. In his lone game with DTR starting, Njoku caught six of seven of his targets for 46 yards. Rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on their tight ends, and I think there will be plenty of plays where Stefanski looks to get the ball in his hands at the line of scrimmage to make a play after the catch.


The Browns are sitting at 6-3 and could really help their odds of winning the division with a win today. The Browns’ defense needs to carry the load, and it starts with them winning up front. Pittsburgh’s rushing attack has gained some momentum over the last few weeks, but I expect them to be shut down today as long as the chunk plays can be eliminated. Offensively, protecting the ball is the number one key for the rest of the year, as you have to complement your defense and not force them into short fields. The offensive line is significant going forward, as they need to take care of a tough Steelers’ front to be able to run the ball and give the rookie time to process the coverage. Clean football on the lake should result in a win on Sunday in Week 11.

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