Steelers Open As 12.5-Point Home Favorites Over Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers will close out their 2016 regular season on Sunday with a home game against the Cleveland Browns and even through they’re likely to rest several starters in that contest, they still opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to VegasInsider.com. That line, however, has now dropped to 7-points at several sportsbooks since it opened.

The Steelers have nothing to play for Sunday against the Browns after clinching the AFC North title and No. 3 seed in the conference with their Christmas night home win over the Baltimore Ravens.

As for the Browns, who won their first game of the season this past Saturday, they currently own the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft thanks to the San Francisco 49ers also winning in Week 16. A loss in week 17 to the Steelers would ensure that first selection remains theirs.

In the Browns 20-17 home win over the San Diego Chargers on Saturday, quarterback Robert Griffin III was forced from the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a concussion. Prior to leaving the contest he had completed 17 of his 25 total pass attempts for 164 yards. Griffin was relieved by rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who finished the game with two completions for 11 yards on three total pass attempts.

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge led his team in receiving with five catches against the Chargers for 42 yards. Running back Isaiah Crowell also rushed for 54 yards and scored both Browns touchdowns on his 16 carries.

While the Browns defense gave up 356 total net yards of offense to the Chargers on Saturday, only 34 of those yards came on the ground. While unable to sack Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during the game, they did intercept him once. Rivers finished the game with 322 yards passing and two touchdowns in addition to his lone interception on 46 total passing attempts. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates led his team in receiving with 8 catches for 94 yards and a score.

The Chargers defense registered 9 sacks against the Browns but failed to force a turnover.

The Chargers had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation but kicker Josh Lambo missed 45-yard field goal as time expired.

It’s still unclear as to which quarterback will start for the Browns in Week 17 against the Steelers.

“There’s a possibility (Kessler) may have to (start),” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said, “but we’ll go through the week and see where Robert (Griffin) is and go from there and determine that decision.”

The over/under for the game between the Steelers and Browns opened up at 45.5-points and has now dropped to 44-points at several sportsbooks.

We’ll likely find out Tuesday who the Steelers will hold out against the Browns when head coach Mike Tomlin holds his weekly press conference.

  • Big Joe

    This might be true if the Steelers were to play their starters. I’m not sure they will. I think they rest the key players, get DW and DHB and LG some snaps to get them back into some sort of rhythm then take them out.

  • Orlysteel

    Mike Tomlin is going to start at wide receiver and Mike Munchak at guard it’s a meaningless game.

  • Jason

    The amount of money bet on the Browns to move the line 5 1/2 pts is immense. Rare to see a line move that much.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hope Landry has a good game

  • VaDave

    Huge.. but, when you consider 5 1/2 pets with them playing our jv squad, that might even be a bit rich.

  • Geoffrey Benedict

    Not one of the killer Bs should be out there.

    The best thing about this game is trying to pick who of the “scrubs” could have a Willie Parker-esque breakout game.

    My favorites are Demarcus Ayers and Tyler Matakevich, although I’d love to see Johnny Maxey come in a tear it up.

  • Jason

    We can only rest so many starters with a 53 man roster. We’ll be the more talented team on the field regardless.

  • It won’t happen but I’d really like to see Mettenberger play. As far as points I’ll take the under

  • Butler at LB. But who will play safety?

  • Sam Clonch

    I think Troy’s available. People have been looking for a reason to pull him out of retirement for years anyways.

  • Sam Clonch

    Wouldn’t mind Coates and Green getting a few series with Ben before the playoffs.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Coach Lake

  • VaDave

    Point taken Jason.

  • Steel City Slim

    They must be expecting Landry Jones and Fitzgerald Touissant to light it up.

  • Rocksolid20

    Green won’t play till playoffs .

  • Steel City Slim

    It would be nice to see Mettenberger in this game at some point.

  • Heywood Jablome

    Shame the line isn’t still 12.5, I’d take that action. Should be as close to all backups as possible.

  • dany

    9 sacks again browns? Time for the steelers to make this a 40 sack year

  • RickM

    I actually think Tomlin will play key guys more than we think. Hope I’m wrong. But that’s kind of the way he coaches. He doesn’t really worry about possible consequences some times. We’ve see that with Heyward, Tuitt and Ben being left in games when they were wrapped up. I hope he’ll realize how damaging even something as minor as a simple ankle sprain could be.

  • Chris92021

    We live in a world where criticism is rampant. NFL coaches must answer all questions to their bosses whenever they do things which are deemed unconventional. Treating a “meaningless” game like it is important in regards to standings is now considered unconventional. If the Steelers start Landry Jones this Sunday and let’s say that Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and Ryan Shazier (along with Stephon Tuitt and Sammie Coates) all sit, not too many people will criticize the Steelers for it. However, if any of those guys play this Sunday AND gets injured, Mike Tomlin will never hear the end of it. Personally, I think Roethlisberger should play at least one quarter since he’s not exactly the sharpest QB when he gets any extended break. The only guys I want to see sit would be Bell and Shazier, especially made easier since their backups (Williams and Williams) are not exactly slouches. We can only deactivate 7 guys per game and this isn’t a preseason game where we have 90 or 75 guys available to play. So as far as I am concerned, as long as Bell and Shazier sit and Big Ben gets enough game reps, I will be happy.

  • Steve

    DWilliams needs to get out there as we pond the ball and eat up the clock on the Brownies.

  • Steve

    The Brownies have had so many QB’s go down with injuries, they really need to shore up the OL. The left tackle Thomas is their best Olineman, with all of their high draft picks, they need to get some help in the trenches.

  • RickM

    I agree with you overall comment, although I would add Harrison to your sit list. But there’s this myth that Roethlisberger does not play well after bye weeks. Forget this year as he was coming off a meniscus tear. He was 6-2 after bye weeks from 2008 to 2015 and in the two games he lost he put up 30 and 32 points. He plays above average after bye weeks. He does not play well coming back from injury. There’s a big difference.

  • Chris92021

    He still threw two interceptions each in both of those games you mentioned. I didn’t say he was horrible but rather he’s not sharp coming off extended break. And that Seattle game where Antwon Blake got his manhood taken by Doug Baldwin, Big Ben did go for 456 but he only threw for one TD to go along with 2 INTs. I am probably nitpicking here but he wasn’t the best QB on the field that day. Same goes for the 2014 game after the bye week against the Saints when Big Ben put up 435 (and two picks as mentioned before), 167 of which came in garbage time. Both TD passes came in garbage time as well as the Steelers scored the final TD with no time left and got the two point conversion to make it a 3 point final. It was only good for the fantasy football people. He wasn’t sharp that day against a terrible Saints defense until the score was 35-16 in the late fourth quarter. Like I said, not sharp at all coming off extended break.

  • Steve Bozell

    Or Cody Kessler not to.

  • Steve Bozell

    Ben is not good when he’s rushed back from injury. When he comes off of a bye, he’s fine. BTW, he did have a slight knee tweak vs. the Ravens. Why risk it?

  • Steve Bozell

    Sample size? Ben tweaked his knee against Baltimore. There’s no way he’s playing. It would be incredibly foolish that I can’t believe Tomlin will even entertain the idea.

  • RickM

    You kind of forgot to mention the 450+ passing yards in the Seattle game, but it defeats your argument. 450 passing yards in Seatlle against their D equals a rusty QB? Sorry, but that is just flat-out wrong.

    If you want him to play for a while and risk a 4th or 5th leg injury in the last two seasons fine. I would prefer they be sensible with him.

  • Sam Clonch

    You’re probably right. I don’t know if it’s the right call though if he’s cleared. Would rather they knock the rust off. Of course, that only happens if Ben plays in 17 also (no point Green catching passes from Jones), which I doubt happens. So maybe it would make sense if he doesn’t play. Hope he can practice all of the next 2 weeks at least.

  • RickM

    I do think you’re nitpicking with the INT’s. 450 passing yards against the Seattle D in Seattle just can’t be accumulated by a rusty QB. Those weren’t garbage yard stats as we both know. It’s the first time in my life I’ve heard the word rusty used for a guy who throws for that total…and against a good D in their home stadium.

    There is no sense playing him and having him risk a 4th or 5th leg/foot injury in the last two seasons.

  • corduroyninja

    As a Browns GM, wouldn’t you prefer to just get the loss this week and lock up the number 1 pick? Or is the number 2 pick better for financial reasons?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    For a second there I thought it said Steelers were a 125 point favorite; even with the killer B’ playing that would be a bit much.