First Call: Cleveland appears to jab JuJu; Steeler-Browns, Super Bowl odds revealed – TribLIVE

Our first “First Call” of 2021 picks up on a familiar Steelers theme: opposing teams mocking JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The Browns appeared to do that after their win over the Steelers Sunday.

Meanwhile, T.J. Watt draws high praise from another NFL legend. The gambling line for Sunday’s Browns-Steelers rematch is out. And the Robert Morris hockey team is off to a hot start.

Early favorites

Odds are already posted for the Steelers-Browns game Sunday night.

Oddsshark has the Steelers as 3.5-point favorites for Round 3 at Heinz Field.

The Steelers have covered the spread both times against the Browns, beating them 38-7 when they were 3-point favorites in Pittsburgh on Oct. 18. Then, on Sunday, the Steelers were 10-point underdogs in Cleveland. But they covered, losing 24-22.

The Steelers have now covered two weeks in a row after failing to do so four weeks in a row prior to last week’s upset win at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

Meanwhile, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill has the Steelers at +2000 to win the Super Bowl. The Browns are at +5000. The Kansas City Chiefs are +180.

Jabbing JuJu

After the Browns beat the Steelers on Sunday, some members of their team mocked the Steelers’ maskless celebration in the locker room last week.

Specifically, with a shot at wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Cleveland linebacker Mack Wilson went to Instagram Live with his teammates dancing to Smith-Schuster’s “Corvette Corvette” song.

Keep in mind, the Steelers raised some eyebrows from the league when Smith-Schuster and Ray-Ray McCloud posted a maskless dance celebration to that tune after beating the Indianapolis Colts to clinch the AFC North last week. Head coach Mike Tomlin said that the franchise heard from the league about that due to potential covid-19 violations but didn’t specifically reference any discipline at the time.

Wilson went out of his way to show himself putting on his mask before celebrating.

Tabbing T.J.

NFL sacks record holder Bruce Smith thinks T.J. Watt has the best chance of any active player when it comes to tracking down his sack record.

He made the comments to TMZ Sports, claiming Watt is “the one we want to watch now because he’s young.”

Watt has 49.5 sacks in his first four years as a pro. That’s five more than Smith had (44.5) in his first four years in the NFL (1985-88).

Smith finished with 200 sacks over 19 years. Former Steeler Kevin Greene — third on the all-time sack list — praised Watt in the final interview before his untimely death last month.

Sad Saquon

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was like many watching the Sunday Night football game.

The Penn State product wanted to know why the Philadelphia Eagle inserted Nate Sudfeld-usually the third string quarterback—into a close game against Washington.

That was Sudfeld’s first game action since Week 17 of the 2018 season.

The Eagles were down just 17-14 to Washington in the fourth quarter at the time. And the Eagles needed to win for the Giants to win the division. Otherwise, if Washington won, they’d claim the NFC East at 7-9.

Which is eventually what happened by a final score of 20-14.

And New York fans were irate at the decision to bench Jalen Hurts. He was only 7 of 20 passing for 72 yards with an interception but had 34 yards on eight carries with a pair of touchdowns.

Sudfeld wasn’t any better, getting sacked twice and throwing an interception with just five completions on 12 attempts.

So you can see why Barkley and the rest of the greater New York metro area were pretty hot.

Tame those Tigers

The Robert Morris men’s hockey team is continuing its hot start.

The Colonials swept RIT over the weekend. They won Saturday’s game 3-1. Then they doubled down and beat the Tigers 4-3 on Sunday.

RMU is now 8-3, and two of those losses are to seventh-ranked Bowling Green. Coach Derek Schooley’s club plays Niagara three times over four days this week on Thursday in New York, then back-to-back Saturday and Sunday on Neville Island. This is the best start for the Colonials since they were 7-1-3 in 2014-15.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz


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