NFL Week 17 Predictions: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 12/30/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  N/A
Current Betting Line:  N/A
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The Pittsburgh Steelers will end a disappointing 2012 NFL season Sunday

Cleveland has dropped back-to-back games after winning three in a row, as it looks to bounce back from a 34-12 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos as 11-point road underdogs.  The Browns have been out-gained by a triple-digit yardage margin in both of those setbacks, as Thaddeus Lewis prepares to make his first career NFL start under center.  “”He’s had a good week of practice,” stated Browns head coach Pat Shurmur.  Shoulder injuries have sidelined Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, while Montario Hardesty will be the starting running back in place of Trent Richardson.  Cleveland is 3-1 ATS versus division foes this year, which is important to consider when looking over the pro football betting odds for Week 17.

The Browns will be unable to avoid their 11th 10-plus loss season in the last 14 years, but they can try to sweep the season series, as they picked up a 20-14 win in the first meeting as one-point home underdogs.  Cleveland forced eight turnovers in that affair, which served as only its second win in its last 18 games against the Steel Curtain.

Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs for the fourth time since 2001, as it has dropped five of its last six games, while the OVER is 4-2 in that span.  “This is an opportunity to play and play to win, to get this sour taste out of our mouth,” commented Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.  The Steelers have lost five games by three points this season, which has led to a 3-5 overall record in games decided by that amount of points.  Pittsburgh is 4-7 ATS in the last four weeks of the regular season since 2010, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL picks against the spread.

The Steelers are 11-1 against the Browns when playing at Heinz Field, which includes a current eight-game win streak in that situation.  Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has compiled a 23-12 record as a starter in the month of December, while he’s averaging 260.9 passing yards per game.  Defensively, the team has yielded just 109 points in seven home games, which ranks first in the AFC this season.

Sports bettors will likely back the Steelers due to their 11-4 ATS mark after a SU loss, while the Browns are 5-6-1 ATS in their last 12 games during this calendar month.

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