Steelers vs Browns: Who the experts are taking in the Wild Card

Pittsburgh Steelers Benny Snell Jr.. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal/]
Pittsburgh Steelers Benny Snell Jr.. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal/] /

It is win or go home for these two AFC North rivals. Expect the best out of these two teams heading into a gritty game on Sunday Night.

This game will be a rematch of last week, but the Steelers will have their varsity roster intact. Joe Haden will still be out from Covid protocols but Eric Ebron will be back into the fold. Other starters that were rested last week will also be coming back like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Maurkice Pouncey.

This team of Pittsburgh backups was almost able to come back and tie the Browns with many of their starters not even dressed in the game. There was little motivation for the black and yellow in that game and they still almost stole a victory against Cleveland that could have kept them out of the playoffs.

The name of the game will be who can consistently go up and down the field and maintain a solid offensive attack throughout the 60 minutes on Sunday. The Browns struggled to move the ball against backups and with the starters coming back for Pittsburgh, that spells trouble for the away team. The Steelers have their concerns on offense as well since it has become inconsistent during the twilight of the season. If they can perform as they did during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts then this will not be a close game at all. If the offense can perform and consistently put up 26 points or more a game then this will be a tough squad to beat.

Who the experts have winning in this second game of a double-header

The experts consist of 13 picks from SB Nation, Sporting News, and CBS Sports. 10 of the 13 experts chose the Steelers to win this game under the lights at Heinz Field. It is the first playoff game for Mike Tomlin’s squad in a few years, so a win here would be huge. Now that the experts saw the game last Sunday, it is no surprise that the black and yellow are highly favored in this one. It should be a relatively easy win for the home team but they could run into some troubles.

This offense is still concerning with its lack of consistency. That alone could cost them the game or it could hamper them later in the playoffs as well. This defense is special for Pittsburgh but it can only do so much without an offense playing effectively. Expect a hungry team coming out of the tunnel on Sunday and one that is ready for a playoff run. If they are not hungrier than the others across from them, then this will be a tough pill to swallow. It should be a controlled win as the Browns just seemed to be outplayed in every aspect last week without the Steelers playing their impact starters.

Prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 21

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It might be a close game at times but expect this Steelers defense to dominate this contest and cause turnovers. The offense for Pittsburgh is the biggest question mark but they should be able to pick up where they left off last week against the Browns.