Ben Roethlisberger and rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool are key reasons why the Pittsburgh Steelers are unbeaten going into Week 6. Photo by @PFF (Twitter).
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0) are 4.5-point favorites against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6
- The Browns knocked off the Colts in Week 5 to improve to 4-1
- See the opening odds for this game and a prediction on which way the line will move before kickoff
Elbow surgery is considered a doomsday scenario for NFL quarterbacks. But Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is changing that thinking this season.
Roethlisberger, limited to two games in 2019 because of surgery, continues to play like the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. He threw three touchdown passes to rookie Chase Claypool to lead the Steelers to a 38-29 win that raised their record to 4-0. This is Pittsburgh’s first 4-0 start since 1979.
Big Ben was 13-for-13 for 158 yards and two touchdowns on third downs against the Eagles. He has now thrown 10 TD passes this season with his surgically repaired throwing arm.
After beating Indianapolis, the Browns said QB Baker Mayfield would have x-rays done on his injured ribs. We could see some odds fluctuation in the Browns vs. Steelers Odds if the results are unfavorable for Mayfield.
Browns vs Steelers Opening Odds
|Cleveland Browns||+172||+4.5 (-110)||O 50.5 (-105)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-205||-4.5 (-110)||U 50.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Oct. 11th at FanDuel
Browns’ Surge a Season Later Than Expected
Fans expected the Browns to be successful in 2019 and it never happened. The Browns struggled to a 6-10 record that fit well with recent Cleveland performances.
Expectations were lower this season, and inexplicably the Browns are enjoying the success they couldn’t find last season. They beat the Indianapolis Colts 32-23 Sunday to raise their record to 4-1. Mayfield wasn’t alive the last time the Browns started 4-1. It’s been 26 years since the team started that well.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) October 12, 2020
After losing 38-6 to Baltimore in Week 1, the Browns have won four games scoring an average of 37.5 points per game.
Mayfield hasn’t been as spectacular as the top NFL quarterbacks, but he has efficiently managed the offense. Even with top rusher Nick Chubb out with a knee injury, the Browns rolled up 284 yards in the first half against a strong Indianapolis defense. The Browns defense has also been sharp.
Claypool Has Breakout Performance
It’s clear Rothlisberger wants Claypool to play a bigger role in the offense. He sent Claypool a text message this week predicting the Notre Dame draft pick would enjoy a big game against the Eagles.
That’s exactly what happened as Claypool scored four touchdowns. No Steelers rookie had ever scored four touchdowns before. Claypool is also the first Steeler to score four TD since 1968 when Roy Jefferson did it.
Roethlisberger hit Claypool with a 35-yard scoring strike with under three minutes left to preserve the win against the Eagles. Claypool is going to get more touches moving forward.
CHASE CLAYPOOL NOW HAS 4 TDS 😳
116 total yards
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 11, 2020
Three Steelers Starters Injured vs Eagles
Guard David DeCastro and receiver Diontae Johnson both left Sunday’s game in the first quarter and didn’t return. Center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a foot injury that kept him off the field for the Steelers’ final drive.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin sounded encouraged that Johnson would be ready for the Browns in Week 6, but indicated he didn’t have enough information to address DeCastro’s and Pouncey’s status.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) October 4, 2020
Starting running back Nick Chubb is on IR for Cleveland, but most of the Browns’ concern will be about Mayfield.
Browns vs Steelers Line Should Move
The Steelers are 4-0 and the Browns are 4-1. These teams are long-time rivals, and it’s been a while since they have met with both teams basking in optimism. Everyone is talking about Roethlisberger’s comeback and Claypool’s breakout game. Undoubtedly, there will be a buzz about this game.
When there is buzz, there is action. And when there is action, the line moves. I would expect it to move in the Steelers’ favor.
Any bad news about Mayfield’s status will change the line this week as well, moving it in Pittsburgh’s favor.
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.