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NFL Picks: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Browns Week 1

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Will the Browns upset the Steelers to kickoff the 2018 season?

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team with a lot of question marks surrounding them.

What will the offense look like without Le’Veon Bell? Will James Conner, and company, be able to carry the load? What will Randy Fichtner’s play-calling look like? Has the Steelers’ defense finally learned their lesson from 2017 and start to tackle better? Terrell Edmunds as a starter, is this a good or bad thing?

It is true Pittsburgh has their share of concerns, the Browns are a completely different beast.

Coming off an 0-16 season, and a 1-15 season prior to that, will the acquisitions of Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry be enough to buoy the historically sluggish Browns offense? Is Myles Garrett preparing for a launch into super stardom this season? Will this team be the team which propels Hue Jackson’s coaching career, or end it prematurely?

All of these questions, and I didn’t even mention the weather. This game is forecasted to be played in heavy rains and wind for almost the entire contest. Not exactly ideal football conditions, but that is what makes football great, right?!

Now that the background has been filled in, how will this game play out? Keeping the Vegas line in mind (Steelers -4), and the expected weather conditions, I see this being a close contest. If you were thinking about a high-scoring affair, while I have learned to never rule such a thing out in the NFL, I would bet against it.

This game is going to come down to fundamentals. The team who protects the football, takes advantage of opportunities and turns any red-zone possession they might get into 7-points, and not a field goal.

I like the Steelers’ offense, even without Bell in the backfield, more than the Browns, and I even like the Pittsburgh defense, as a collective, over the Cleveland defense. Throw in the fact the Steelers have one of the best place kickers, who is used to kicking in the bad elements, on their team, and I do like the Steelers to win this game.

I would be stunned if it were a blowout, and it may be ugly, but I think the Steelers leave Cleveland 1-0, while they turn their attention to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.

PREDICITON:

Steelers - 20
Browns - 13