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Steelers vs Browns Week 8 Picks and Preview: Big Ben, Keenum Square Off in AFC North Clash : NFL : Sports World News



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Steelers vs Browns Week 8 Picks and Preview: Big Ben, Keenum Square Off in AFC North Clash

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – T.J. Watt (#90) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field on October 17, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo : Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

A blockbuster showdown will be heading our way this coming Sunday as the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers square off in a critical Week 8 clash. Both teams are playing catch-up with Baltimore and Cincinnati in the AFC North standings, so victory is important in this divisional matchup. Here’s an in-depth preview of this Steelers vs Browns showdown.

Pittsburgh Steelers enter Week 8 as +3 underdogs

The Pittsburgh Steelers headed into their bye week feeling good about themselves after pulling off a thrilling 23-20 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The win helped the Steelers return to .500 for the season as they enter Week 8 with a 3-3 record.

T.J. Watt starred in the Week 6 win for Pittsburgh, recording two sacks in overtime, the last of which caused Geno Smith to commit a costly fumble. That resulted in the Steelers gaining possession inside Seattle territory and Chris Boswell converting the game-winning field goal.

Ben Roethlisberger is one guy who needs to step up for Pittsburgh in the Week 8 game against Cleveland. At times, he looked shaky in the win against the Seahawks, completing 29 of 40 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown.

Roethlisberger is expected to rely on Najee Harris to keep the chains moving for Pittsburgh in Cleveland. This season, he has been a workhorse for the Steelers, rushing for 388 yards and two touchdowns on 102 carries in their first six games. Harris also has 34 receptions this season, racking up 244 yards through the air and two scores.

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Cleveland Browns installed as -3 favorites

On Thursday Night Football, the Cleveland Browns finally snapped their two-game losing skid with a narrow 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Browns managed to do so without their starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, who missed the primetime game due to a torn labrum and a tuberosity fracture in his left non-throwing shoulder.

Those injuries make Mayfield’s availability for the clash against the Steelers a major question mark at this point. The good news for the Browns is that they have a more than capable backup in the quarterback position in Case Keenum. He impressed in the win against the Broncos, completing 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.

During the third quarter, Keenum made the play of the game for the Browns, with Cleveland holding a 10-7 edge. He managed to extend the drive for the Browns with a crucial first down conversion on a 4th-and-3 situation inside the Denver 10-yard line. Keenum then connected with Johnny Stanton in the following play for the game-winning touchdown.

Keenum was not the only backup to shine in the Week 7 win against Denver. Third-string back D’Ernest Johnson wreaked havoc on the ground for the Browns, rushing for 146 yards and a score on 22 carries. Kareem Hunt is still out for Week 8 with a calf injury so expect Johnson to lead the Browns in the Steelers game.

Writer’s Prediction

Pittsburgh wins over Cleveland.

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