By: David Dzienis
Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants
The Cleveland Browns appear playoff bound for the first time in most of our lifetimes. Despite losing that Monday night thriller against the Ravens, Cleveland finally proved that they could play with the upper echelon of teams. Their running game, led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, may very well be the best duo in the entire league. Baker Mayfield has answered the call over the last few weeks and has been slinging it all over the field. This offense feels like it is a consistent TE and/or WR away from being elite. Despite letting Baltimore run all over them the defense has been solid most weeks. Myles Garrett is an absolute monster, even when he isn’t swinging helmets at QB’s.
The Giants have finally awoken and started playing decent football only to have more injuries derail their momentum. Colt McCoy had an amazing win over Seattle but couldn’t follow that up the next week. The defense has really been carrying this team. They are currently a top 10 defense against the run, so if they can stop Hunt and Chubb they have a chance to keep this game close. Both teams are still in the playoff hunt although New York’s only hope is to win their division. Cleveland can still take their division and currently hold the first wild card spot. Neither team will lock or be eliminated this week regardless of result.
Prediction: Cle 27-N.Y.G. 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
This game is considered World War 3 in my house since the fiancé is a Bengals fan and we all know I’m a Steelers Nation diehard! The Steelers are on a 2-game losing streak after starting the season 11-0. The real question is what has caused this? There are a few options. The Steelers have to hope it’s the running game or the drops. Both of those are fixable issues. The more probable answer is injuries. The offensive line is battered, and Pittsburgh is recycling linebackers at a record pace. They need to put forth another dominant performance this week to get back on track.
The Bengals finally look like they found their QB of the future only to realize they have nothing else around him. That’s not entirely fair. Joe Mixon is talented and the wideouts have potential with the likes of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. The issue is they have no offensive line, and their defense looks like they may be sleeping through practice. Cincinnati is looking ahead to next year, hoping to be healthy, and having a projected top 5 pick. The Steelers have already locked in a playoff spot and can secure the division with a win or a Cleveland loss.
Prediction: Pit 42- Cin 17
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