Cleveland Browns Week 11 score predictions: Looking for a win over Steelers
Writer: Mike Lukas
For two of the next three weeks, the gasping 3-6 Cleveland Browns have to game plan against their AFC North rivals, the surging 5-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now I’m no Freddie Kitchens, but the basic offensive game plan here seems obvious: Steelers have a 16th ranked rush defense, Browns have one of the best running backs in the league…might be a good idea to run the ball a bunch.
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It’s true – Browns have the third most productive rusher in the NFL right now, Nick Chubb, who’s averaging 5.3 yards per carry with 174 rushes for 919 yards and 6 touchdowns. Be great to see him break 1,000+ yards for the season against the Steelers on Sunday.
And more good news – when Chubb gets tired (or feels like blocking), the Browns now have Kareem Hunt, who showed up as a running back during the Week 10 defeat of the Buffalo Bills, averaging 7.5 yards per carry with 4 rushes for 30 yards. And as a receiver, Hunt had 7 grabs for 44 yards. And as a blocker, Hunt was impressive (and unselfish), paving the way for many a successful Chubb run.
The following basic 3-step offensive game plan against Pittsburgh on Sunday seems easy enough (especially after watching Kyle Shanahan do a version of it successfully with his 49ers all season):
- Establish the double-headed run threat early on.
- Once the opponent starts anticipating the run and starts loading up the box, start to throw in some play-action fakes and hit Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins in the open field.
- Occasionally target a soft-handed tight end or Hunt (or Chubb!) out of the backfield to mix it up a bit.
And as an added bonus, an ongoing Browns run game will keep the Steelers’ offense off the field as much as possible, which makes scoring for them all the more difficult (although don’t rule out a pick-six or two from Minkah Fitzpatrick).
Like the 49ers, the Browns have a highly capable quarterback with a strong, accurate arm who, ahem, prefers not to be “mobile” if he doesn’t have to be. Why not let Baker Mayfield facilitate the Browns’ hard-hitting, tough-to-tackle run game for the first half and then use his rifle arm in the second half to pick apart the Steelers’ exhausted defense?
Seems obvious, makes perfect sense to me, but I’m no Freddie Kitchens.
Score Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 17