NFL Pick: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Resting Key Players in Final Game Before Playoffs
The Cleveland Browns (0-15 Overall, 0-7 Away) are at the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3 Overall, 5-2 Home) today at 1:00 p.m. E.T. Our Cleveland plays Pittsburgh 2017 NFL free pick has the Steelers at -6.0 and the over/under at 38.0. It’s no secret that the Browns are winless and the Steelers are in the playoffs. Cleveland’s last loss occurred Dec 24, as the Chicago Bears took them down 20-3. The Steelers are 4-1 over their last five. That record includes a bizarre 27-24 home loss to the New England Patriots on Dec 17. In that game, the Steelers had a TD called back in the final moments, and with another chance to win the game and just yards away from scoring, they saw a Roethlisberger pass deflected and intercepted in the final seconds by the Pats. Last week, Pittsburgh traveled to Houston and disassembled the Texans 34-6.
This may say it all, the Browns are averaging 14.0 PPG and allowing opponents 25.5, and that’s on a good day. Cleveland rookie QB DeShone Kizer (53.6 COMP%, 9 TDs, 21 INTs) has a tough time making anything happen. Kizer does have the best yards-per-attempt when it comes to rushing (5.0) and the most rushing TDs (5). The team’s primary running back, Isaiah Crowell, is questionable for today’s game. The Browns have allowed 44 sacks. The defense has caused 13 fumbles and recovered five, and they have made six picks. Sacks stand at a respectable 31, and TFL are at a very solid 81. They have also defended 68 passes. CB Jason McCourty (3 INTs, 14 PD, 2 FF) is a very sound defender. LB James Burgess Jr. (73 TCKLs, 4 SCKs, 10 TFL) has had a good season.
- QB Kizer has a penchant for mistakes
- Very few offensive tools
- O-line is weak and has holes
The Steelers, who are scoring on average 25.2 PPG and allowing opponents 18.9 PPG, will be without superstar receiver Antonio Brown. Plus, the team will be looking to preserve the health of its starters, as their chances of nailing down home field advantage for the playoffs is slim. Plus, Roethlisberger and LeVeone Bell will not play. Still, the Steelers, who will have five-year vet backup Landry Jones taking the ball from center, should be in good shape and able to control and win this game. The defense has 50 sacks, 15 INTs, and 12 FF. We expect them to score a TD or two today.
- Resting top players
- Solid core group
- Stingy and tough D
Three Important Takeaways
- Browns have little to no offense
- Pittsburgh offers top-notch defense
- Not a lot at stake- seven-point win is doable
Our Browns at Steelers Pick
In creating our Cleveland plays Pittsburgh 2017 NFL free pick, we’ve noted that the Steelers have tended to win by small margins. They’ve had five victories by more than seven points. Until last week, when they beat the Houston Texans 34-6, they had not had a win by more than seven points since Nov 16 when they took down the Tennessee Titans 40-17. In the first game of the season, Pittsburgh beat Cleveland 21-18.
When you look at the Brown’s performance, you notice that the last time they lost by less than seven points was Oct 22 when the Tennessee Titans beat them in OT 12-9. Only three of their losses have been by fewer than seven points. The Steelers have a shot at securing the number one seed today. They have to win and New England must use. Taking everything into consideration, including home field, below freezing temperatures, and the performances of each team this season, we are taking the Steelers at -6.0. We like the under at 38.0. See our late afternoon spread and over/under picks for the Carolina and Atlanta game.