Weekly Bold Prediction: Ben Roethlisberger continues his dominance over Ohio teams
This week’s bold prediction may come as a surprise to some folks who see what media analysts call an explosive offense: but they’ve only been talking about the resurgent Cleveland Browns and not the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
The shocker is just how efficient a team which appears inefficient on the surface has been thus far through 2020. In each of their four games, the Steelers offense has scored at least 26 points. But the real story has been Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback who missed nearly all of the 2019 season with a bum arm.
Many were calling for Ben’s end prior to the start of the 2020 season, but through a quarter of the schedule, he as a 10:1 TD:INT ratio and has is a tenth of a percent shy of completing 70% of his passes (69.9%).
Roethlisberger has attempted nine fewer passes than his counterpart this Sunday, Browns QB Baker Mayfield, yet, he’s also completed seven more passes with those fewer attempts – in one less game played as well.
Ben has one more touchdown thrown and three fewer interceptions. He’s completing far more passes and has thrown for more yards as well.
However, you’d assume that going into Sunday’s game between the two AFC North division rivals that Mayfield has the edge – nothing could be further from the truth.
Cleveland could be entering Heinz Field in deep trouble. Two of their mainstays in the secondary have missed two days of practice. Safeties Karl Joseph and Ronnie Harrison are each in danger of missing the game against the Steelers. The Browns recently spent high draft picks on CB Greedy Williams and S Grant Delpit also; both are currently on injured reserve.
This could leave the Browns, giving up 29.8 points-per-game and ranked 30th in team pass defense, in serious jeopardy after watching Roethlisberger turn rookie WR Chase Claypool into an overnight sensation.
Claypool had four touchdowns (three receiving) against the Eagles last weekend. He’ll certainly be on the radar, but how will Cleveland cover him as well as JuJu Smith-Schuster? They could get a break if Diontae Johnson is ruled out with a bad back for Sunday’s game, however, adding Johnson to the mix will be another headache for the Browns.
Those are a lot of mouths to feed and a highly accurate Big Ben against a banged up Browns secondary appears to be a huge mismatch on paper. Should the Steelers successfully exploit Cleveland’s weaknesses, Roethlisberger should easily put up a season-high in yards – currently at 311.
With bookies calling for a close game (3.5-point spread) and an over/under of 51 points, I’m anticipating a high-scoring affair between both teams. This will lead to another 30+ point game by the Steelers against a Browns squad that has given up at least 30 points in three of five games this year.
Roethlisberger will factor heavily into this scoring barrage. If I were to be put to task, I’m going to say Big Ben nears 400 yards passing and throws 2-3 touchdowns while leading the Steelers to victory this Sunday.