2015 NFL Week 17 - Steelers vs. Browns Betting Odds Preview

Line: Steelers -11.5

The 9-6 Philadelphia Steelers travel to Cleveland to take on the 3-12 Browns this Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh snapped a 3 game win streak with a 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. The Steelers are no longer in control of their playoff destiny as they need to beat Cleveland but also need the Bills to beat the Jets to make the AFC playoffs. Cleveland lost for the 4th time in 5 games with a 17-13 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns have averaged a total of 14 points per game over their last 4 games.

Pittsburgh played poorly on both sides of the ball last week in their disappointing loss to the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger finished with a quarterback rating of 36.6 as he completed 24 of 34 passes for 220 yards and 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His favorite target was Antonio Brown who had 7 receptions for 61 yards. The Steelers other 2 top receivers struggled, as Martavis Bryant was limited to 6 yards on 1 catch and Markus Wheaten had 3 catches for 41 yards. Roethlisberger was also sacked 3 times for a loss of 22 yards. DeAngelo Williams had success running the ball as he gained 100 yards on 17 carries with 2 touchdowns but did lose a fumble. Defensively, they didn’t force any turnovers and sacked Ryan Mallett only once for a loss of 9 yards. They also allowed the Ravens to gain 121 rush yards on 31 carries.

Cleveland had a chance to win in the final possession last week but came up just short against the Chiefs. Johnny Manziel completed 13 of 32 passes for 136 yards 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also ran the ball 11 times for another 108 yards. His favorite target was Gary Barnidge who had 3 receptions for 47 yards. His status for this game is up in the air as he has been experiencing concussion like symptoms. Besides Manziel, Isiah Crowell also had success running the ball as he gained 88 yards on 16 carries including a 10-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. Defensively, they shut the Chiefs out in the second half and were able to intercept Alex Smith once. They also sacked smith 1 time for a loss of 3 yards and 4 tackles for losses. They had some trouble stopping the run as the Chiefs gained 136 yards on 27 carries.

Pittsburgh is 7-5-3 against the spread this year including 3-3-1 as the favorite. Cleveland is 4-10-1 against the spread this year including 1-5-1 at home. This is a must win game for the Steelers because if they lose they are eliminated from the playoffs. Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin is questionable for this game as he missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. Pittsburgh is double-digit favorites against the Browns despite being the road team. If Manziel isn’t able to play the Browns will be forced to start Austin Davis.

Pick: Steelers -11.5

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