browns steelers player props
PHOTO CREDIT: CRAIG DUDEK

If tonight is truly is to be Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game as a Pittsburgh Steeler, what a ride it has been. Barring an unforeseen return to the team next season, Roethlisberger will be suiting up in black and gold for the final time at Heinz Field while his team’s slim playoff hopes are on the line. With the Roethlisberger angle as the backdrop, there figures to be strong betting action on the final Monday Night Football matchup of the season.

Let’s take a look at the best Browns vs. Steelers player props picks for this key NFL Week 17 Monday Night Football matchup.

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Browns vs. Steelers Player Props Picks

Nick Chubb Anytime Touchdown Scorer

When the Cleveland Browns are successful, it usually centers around two things – good defense and a dominant running game. And with Kareem Hunt having missed so much time this season through injury, the onus of the run game has fallen on Nick Chubb’s shoulders.

Despite missing time himself, Chubb has helped guide the Browns to the league’s third most rushing yards per game this season (144.9). And, now he will face the NFL’s worst rush defense, allowing 142.7 yards per game on the ground.

If this seems like a recipe for disaster for Pittsburgh, that’s because it likely is. Chubb has rushed it at least 17 times in each of the last three games, scoring in the last two. He also had three catches in two of those outings, meaning he has touched the ball at least 20 times in three consecutive contests. That could be particularly relevant here, as Chubb has already scored on a pass catch this season and Pittsburgh has allowed two scores on passes to backs already.

But Chubb is always most likely to do his damage on the ground. His other eight touchdowns this season have come in the run game, making it nine total scores in just 12 games for Chubb. He also averages nearly 100 yards per game on the ground on 5.5 yards per carry.

Chubb didn’t score against Pittsburgh in the first head-to-head meeting this season, but he did cross the goal line both times he faced the Steelers in 2020, once on the ground and once through the air. He will know that the Steelers have allowed 12 scores to running backs in their last seven games, good for 54.5 percent of the offensive scores they conceded over that span. Expect him back in the endzone here.

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Pat Freiermuth Anytime Touchdown Scorer

There aren’t a ton of weak spots in the Cleveland defense, as the Browns are ranked in the league’s top 10 against both the rush and the pass. However, the Browns have shown a modicum of vulnerability against tight ends in and around the endzone this season.

Cleveland has allowed eight opposing tight ends to score this season, all of which scored from 22 yards out or less. In fact, five of them scored from eight yards out or less.

Pat Freiermuth is Pittsburgh’s top tight end choice and one of Roethlisberger’s favorite pass options overall. The rookie is third on the team in receiving yards with 422 and is tied with Diontae Johnson for a team best seven touchdown receptions. He has spread those seven scores out over six different games and has scored six times in his last eight appearances.

All seven of Freiermuth’s touchdowns have come in the red zone area where Cleveland has proven vulnerable against opposing tight ends. All seven scores were from 15 yards out or less with four of them scored from five yards out or fewer. With Cleveland allowing just one rushing touchdown in its last four games combined and with Roethlisberger wanting to put on a show in what is likely his final home game, Freiermuth should once again see action when the Steelers get in close here.

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Cleveland Defense Anytime Touchdown Scorer

In a late season AFC North battle to keep one team’s playoff hopes alive while dashing the other’s, nothing is off the table and there will be extra energy in the building from the opening kickoff through the final whistle. These two teams are historically built around their defenses and that holds true recently, as well. The Steelers led the league in sacks as recently as last season, while Cleveland boasts the NFL’s seventh best yardage defense in 2021.

And, while just a middling defense in terms of creating turnovers, Cleveland has been better than most at turning them into instant scores. The Browns have returned a fumble recovery and an interception for touchdowns already this season, tying them for the seventh most defensive scores in the league. Interestingly, both of those touchdowns came against division foes, Cincinnati and Baltimore. It would make for a nice story if Cleveland can finish the sweep of the division in that category here, especially if the score helps lead them to an improbable playoff spot after next week.

Pittsburgh could prove an unwilling participant, as they have had an interception and fumble recovery both returned for touchdowns against them already in 2021. The pick six came against the Bengals, too, a divisional foe.

As mentioned, this is Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field in all likelihood. If his team is trailing, he will want the ball in his hands, but those hands have thrown 18 pick sixes during his career, tied for third most among active quarterbacks. Roethlisberger has also fumbled 114 times in his long career, second only to Tom Brady amongst active quarterbacks and 24 more than third place. If a strip sack, fumble, or interception occurs today and Roethlisberger is the only guy around to stop it, we know it’s going to the house, as he can barely move at this point.

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