Cleveland Browns: 4 bold predictions for Week 18 vs. Steelers

Cleveland Browns: 4 bold predictions for Week 18 vs. Steelers

The Cleveland Browns already eliminated the Washington Commanders from playoff contention last week. They can eliminate another team this coming weekend if they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 18 on the road. The Steelers need this win to stay alive for a playoff berth, but the Browns would be all too happy to kick their division rivals out of contention. Now let’s look at our Browns Week 18 predictions as they take on the Steelers.

Keep in mind that the Browns and Steelers have a longstanding rivalry. That’s despite Cleveland’s history of struggles on the field. Remember also that in the recent past, Cleveland has managed to secure a playoff spot thanks to the Steelers and even defeated Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

However, this year, the tables have turned. Now, it’s the Steelers who need to win against Cleveland in the final week of the season. Aside from that, Pittsburgh also needs both the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins to lose their games so the Steelers can make it to the playoffs.

Additionally, Pittsburgh’s head coach, Mike Tomlin, has a streak of winning seasons on the line. That said, Cleveland has the opportunity to end their season on a high note by kicking a rival out of playoff contention and ending Tomlin’s streak.

With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Browns in their Week 18 game against the Steelers.

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4. Myles Garrett finishes with 16 sacks this season

Star defensive end Myles Garrett had eight tackles, including four solo ones, and 1.5 sacks in the Browns’ win over the Commanders last Sunday. Garrett increased his defensive playing time to 52 snaps against Washington after playing a season-low 36 defensive snaps in Week 16 against the Saints. He also had the most tackles in a game since Week 4 of his sophomore year.

With 53 stops this season, the All-Pro defensive end has set a new career-best in that category. If he can get one sack against Pittsburgh in the Browns’ last regular-season game, he would have 16 sacks in back-to-back seasons. We expect him to do just that. Steelers QB Kenny Pickett better watch out.

3. Browns Receivers combine for two TDs

Browns WR WR Amari Cooper had a standout performance in the Browns’ win over the Commanders in Week 17. He recorded three receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite the team running a conservative offense and Cooper only being targeted 4 times, he managed to score touchdowns of 46 and 33 yards. This marked Cooper’s first touchdown and 100-yard performance since Week 11. He had no catches in the first half but exploded for 2 scores after halftime. His first touchdown was a particularly impressive one as he evaded a defender and ran the rest of the way for a score. Cooper’s second touchdown of the game was his ninth of the season. That’s a new career high for him.

Meanwhile, Donovan Peoples-Jones also contributed to that win. He caught one reception for 13 yards and a touchdown. The team ran a run-oriented offense, limiting Peoples-Jones’ opportunities with only three targets. Still, his touchdown was important and impressive. Remember that Peoples-Jones has now scored two touchdowns in his last three games and three for the season overall. Peoples-Jones had a breakout season in 2022 and will look to end it on a strong note in the Week 18 matchup against the Steelers.

We expect both Cooper and DPJ to have strong games in Week 18. We have them combining for 120+ yards and two touchdowns.

2. Deshaun Watson continues to improve

Cleveland QB Deshaun Watson had a strong game in Week 17. He completed 9-of-18 passes for 169 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Despite attempting the fewest passes of the season, Watson was highly efficient. He averaged 9.4 yards per attempt. This was also his first multi-touchdown performance of the season, with touchdowns thrown from distances of 46, 13, and 33 yards.

It is obvious that Watson is still adjusting to his new team, but Sunday’s game was his most encouraging performance so far. All of Watson’s touchdowns came after halftime, with two going to Cooper and a third going to Peoples-Jones. Watson will now have five touchdowns and three interceptions heading into the season finale against the Steelers.

As his confidence and comfort grow, we expect Watson to continue becoming more productive. We see him putting up 250+ total yards with two touchdowns and one interception in Week 18.

1. Browns continue to ride momentum for a season-ending win

The Steelers have recently been playing well. Their Sunday Night Football victory against Baltimore was actually quite stunning. The difference is that the Ravens weren’t doing well because they were using a backup quarterback.

On the other side, Cleveland appeared to finally gel this past Sunday. Cooper and Watson worked well together, and the latter recorded three touchdowns. They also got Nick Chubb to run for 100+ yards. It was a well-balanced performance.

For Watson, despite technically having just one-half of consistently good play, it was certainly his best performance yet. They should maintain that assurance in Week 18 as they unite behind the goal of upsetting the Steelers.


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