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Week 14 Spreads: Steelers vs. Browns

NFL Thursday Night Football Betting: Steelers vs Browns

Thursday, December 10th
Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH – 8:20 PM ET
NFL Point Spread: Steelers -10, O/U: 36

Amazingly enough, the Cleveland Browns had a better week than the defending (not-for-long) Super Bowl champions. No, Cleveland didn’t win a game (let’s be reasonable here!), but the Browns played San Diego gallantly before bowing to the Chargers, 30-23.

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The Steelers have no excuse for the way they’re pursuing a second straight Vince Lombardi Trophy. Mike Tomlin’s team lost its fourth consecutive game this past Sunday, falling 27-24 to the woeful Oakland Raiders. What makes Pittsburgh’s extended skid so remarkable is the fact that two of the Steelers’ four losses have come to AFC West doormats, the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Even more amazing is the fact that Pittsburgh lost to Oakland by giving up three fourth-quarter touchdowns to quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

NFL Handicapping: What The Steelers Have To Do To Win

Show some pride. Injuries to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have robbed Pittsburgh of offensive continuity, but this loss to Oakland was the product of a defensive meltdown. Big Ben did his part by hitting 18-of-24 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and only one interception, but a defense that has been the backbone of the Steeler franchise caved in against the Raiders on home turf. Conceding 21 fourth-quarter points and three go-ahead touchdowns is beyond absurd for a team of Pittsburgh’s caliber; similarly, allowing 27 points to the inept Chiefs (on Nov. 22) also shows that an alarming lack of concentration exists throughout this roster. Whatever mental paralysis is affecting coordinator Dick LeBeau’s defense, it has to be expunged with a proud and passionate effort against a Cleveland team that doesn’t belong on the same field. No self-respecting defense should allow more than 14 points to quarterback Brady Quinn’s offense; as long as Big Ben brings a little offense to the ballpark, the Steelers shouldn’t have trouble. Then again, Pittsburgh didn’t figure to struggle against the Raiders, either. Tomlin’s troops have to play as though they’re broke and searching for their next meal. Otherwise, they could stumble again.

NFL Handicapping: What The Browns Have To Do To Win

Keep pushing. Cleveland didn’t have the weapons San Diego possessed, but a team that has shown its displeasure with head coach Eric Mangini acted like it cared more about winning this past weekend. Instead of tanking and throwing their unpopular coach under the bus, the members of the Browns roster fought to the bitter end against the Chargers, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points even though the outlook was grim all the while. If Cleveland can stay in this game through the first three quarters, the Steelers have shown that they can and will give up the ghost in the fourth quarter. The Browns played hard against San Diego because they respected their opponent and looked at the game as a chance to showcase themselves. Despite a 1-11 record, Cleveland has been deceptively competitive in most of its division games. With one more forceful charge against Pittsburgh, the Browns could cause the mentally weak champions to crack at crunch time.

NFL Handicapping: Outlook & Pick

The Browns actually do have a decent chance of keeping this game close. Cleveland’s allowed no more than 16 points in its last two AFC North games (against Baltimore on Nov. 16 and at Cincinnati on Nov. 29), so it stands to reason that in a home night game, Mangini’s men can keep pace with Pittsburgh for at least two and a half or even three quarters. In the end, however, the only thing more wildly improbable than a four-game Pittsburgh losing streak fueled by the Oakland Raiders is for that downward spiral to reach five games at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. Life is unpredictable, and maybe the underdog can pull another shocker, but at some point, the Steelers should be able to win a game or two. The defending champs can’t lose to a team this horrible, can they?

NFL Point Spread Pick: Steelers -10

NFL Prop Betting: Team To Score First And Score In First Six Minutes

If Pittsburgh is serious about winning, Roethlisberger should get the ball early in good field position (perhaps after a stop by his defense) and work his way into the red zone. Maybe the Steelers will get just a field goal; they should strike the first blow.

NFL Prop Betting Pick: Steelers Will Score First, Score In First Six Minutes

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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