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NFL Expert Picks, Week 8: Experts leaning towards the Browns, but plenty like the Steelers

Time to check in and see who the experts like in Steelers vs. Browns this Sunday in Week 8.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are slated to face off in Week 8 of the 2021 regular season, and there are a lot of narratives between these two teams. For the Browns, they are wondering if players like Jadeveon Clowney, Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward will be available to play, while the Steelers are a team who are trying to forge a new identity as they look to extend their winning streak to three games after their Week 6 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

For those who follow the current betting lines, the Browns opened as 3-point favorites, and, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, that line has moved from 3-points to 3.5-points.

At this point, it is time to check in and see who the pundits who call themselves experts like in this showdown in Cleveland this Sunday.

For those new to this article, there are two types of experts, when it comes to NFL picks. There are those who just pick the overall winner, and those who expound on their picks and give a reason for their prediction.

As for the former of the above types of experts, there are many sites who have their experts just plug in a winner and move on with their day. Of those sites, like Yahoo! and ESPN, the experts are certainly leaning towards Cleveland to hold serve at home, but it is far from a slam dunk pick.

As for the experts who actually put some thoughts, and explanation behind their picks, like Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, here is why he likes the Browns to beat the Steelers in Week 8.

This is big game inside the division, but the Browns will be without Baker Mayfield. That means it’s even more pressing that they run the ball. They’ve done it all year, but the Steelers run defense is solid. The Browns defense played better against the Broncos and I think that carries over. Browns take it with Case Keenum at quarterback.

Pick: Browns 27, Steelers 21

As for Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News, he sees the Steelers as a team who is primed to knock off the Browns in what will be the national game of the week on CBS.

The Steelers have a (black) and golden opportunity coming off a bye to get an important road division win in the tough AFC North. Cleveland should have a better bill of health in some areas, but it still may be missing key offensive players. Pittsburgh will be well rested and figure out a few more things to support Najee Harris and Ben Roethlisberger in the offense and the defense will take advantage of a break against a lesser attack.

Pick: Steelers win 20-17

NFL.com’s Mark Sessler doesn’t give a score prediction, but tells fans of both teams to prepare themselves for a nail-biter on Halloween.

The Browns took care of business against Denver minus their starting signal-caller in Baker Mayfield, the league’s top ground duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, All-Pro tackle Jack Conklin and a host of other humans. Chubb and Conklin are back in practice, but Case Keenum might have to make another start in place of the ailing Mayfield, this time against Pittsburgh’s dark-magic defensive front led by game-wrecking nightmares T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward.

The Steelers are coming off a bye and hungry to erase memories of January’s hyper-ugly wild-card melt at the hands of a Browns team that’s currently in a vicious battle with the injury bug. The underrated absence of rookie defender Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) strips Cleveland of a laser-quick X-factor who doubles as Pro Football Focus’ third-ranked linebacker. Yes, Pittsburgh’s offense is tough on the eyes with Stone Age pony Ben Roethlisberger chucking quick-release lobs, but the weaponry — Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool — is proven, while rookie runner Najee Harris is a willing, do-everything workhorse out of the backfield.

Superstitious types will note that Cleveland is roughly 0-26 when Jim Nantz and Tony Romo call the action. (“Uh-oh, Jim! I think Big Ben’s still got it!” — Romo, definitely at some point on Sunday.) Prepare for a Halloween nail-biter in which Pittsburgh attempts to fill Cleveland’s bag with candy apples doused in kerosene.

These are just a few sites who make weekly NFL picks. When you think about all those sites not listed above, this is when we turn to our friends at NFL Pick Watch, a site dedicated to tracking NFL expert picks by the week. They take all expert picks and put them into an easy-to-read graph for fans to enjoy. When it comes to the Steelers vs. Browns game, 72% of NFL experts like the Browns to hold serve at home Sunday.

What do you think about the upcoming game? Will the experts have it right? Or are they way off? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Browns in Week 8.