This week’s matchup between the two rival cities sees the 11-4 Pittsburgh Steelers up against the 5-10 Cleveland Browns. Pitt need to win to clinch the AFC North, and lock up the second seed in the AFC, while Cleveland will look to play spoiler and finish the year on a good note. This rivalry is the oldest and one of the most storied rivalries in the NFL. These teams have met 117 times.
The Browns are 5-10 and have lost the past 3 games coming off low scoring losses to the Bills, Bengals, and Ravens. Cleveland have been offensively challenged of late. In their last 3 contests they’ve only managed 33 points, for an average of 11 points per game. Points won’t come easily this week against the Steelers top ranked defense. Head Coach Eric Mangini may be coaching his final game for the Browns as rumors have circulated this week that if the Browns don’t win, Mangini will be fire.
The Steelers on the other hand beat the Panthers 27-3 last week and look to add to their solid play this week. They’ll earn a playoff bye and get home field advantage for at least the second round of the playoffs with a victory this week. If they lose, the Steelers will drop to the 6th seed in the AFC with no chance of home field advantage. They’ve won 4 of their last 5 and are in top form heading into the playoffs. Roethlisberger went 22/32 for 320 yards and 1 TD last week, and he shouldn’t have a problem moving the ball against the Cleveland’s defense.
The key stat in this match is that Pittsburgh have won 13 of the past 14 contests versus the Browns. The one win that Cleveland has managed over Pitt happened to be last year, which inevitably kept the Steelers out of the playoffs.
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Steelers vs. Browns Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5
@ Cleveland Browns +5.5
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Steelers vs. Browns Prediction for Week 17 Betting:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play): The Steelers are winning and are scoring during their recent winning streak. They’ve scored over 20 points in their last 5 games, and with the Steelers will be highly motivated this week with a shot of a first round bye and home field advantage until the championship game. Cleveland have been out of the playoff hunt for weeks now, and a with a chance to play spoiler against their rivals, I like this game to go over the number this week.
Spread Total Prediction: The Browns have performed well against good teams this year, with surprising wins over the Patriots and Saints. I like the Browns to keep this game close. They run the ball well and they find ways to score. They have a better special teams than Pittsburgh and I think it’ll be the difference this week.