The AFC North rivalry between the Browns and Steelers will heat up on Sunday, but it won’t be the same with the Steelers resting many starters.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns will renew their rivalry on Sunday in Week 17, but this game won’t be like the usual Steelers vs. Browns rivalry game. With the Steelers locking up the AFC North championship last Sunday in a come from behind win over the Indianapolis Colts, it made the Week 17 game pretty meaningless.
As for the Browns, this game is huge. Win and make their first playoff appearance since 2002. Lose, and they would need other chips to fall a certain way to get into the postseason. All they’ll have to do is beat Mason Rudolph and several other Steelers backups.
Well, let’s see who the experts like in this Week 17 divisional game.
There are some experts who actually provide a little insight behind their predictions. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is one of the experts who does just this on a weekly basis. Let’s see how he sees this game going down…
Mason Rudolph will be starting for the Steelers at quarterback. Do they want the Browns in the playoffs? The Steelers still have a chance for the second seed, but they are passing on playing Ben Roethlisberger. That’s a big break for Cleveland. With that as a backdrop, the Browns will win and make the playoffs.
Pick: Browns 24, Steelers 16
The folks at the Sporting News also provide some insight into their picks. See who they like in Week 17…
The line has jumped up 3.5 points, which is a little eye-popping considering the Steelers won the first meeting 38-7. Which Cleveland players will be out because of COVID-19?Will the Steelers sit their starters or try to eliminate their AFC North rivals? This is a game we would stay away from because of those variables, but there is no better time for the Browns to break through than now.
Pick: Browns 26, Steelers 23
In a new article, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports provided a new type of prediction for some games in Week 17. See what he sees happening at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Myles Garrett owns Mason Rudolph as Browns win big
The Browns and Steelers can talk all they want about moving past the infamous brawl between Garrett, Rudolph and these AFC North rivals. But there’s no way Pittsburgh can roll Rudolph out in relief of a resting Ben Roethlisberger and expect tempers to remain in check all game. Cleveland needs to win this, Garrett has been an elite pass rusher as usual, and Rudolph is, frankly, not that good. Couple that with Pittsburgh’s other offensive struggles this year, and this is shaping up as a momentous way for the Browns to enter the playoffs.
There are also those sites which just click who they think will win the game, and for those sites, like ESPN and the haters here at SB Nation, there are only one or two at each site who believe the Steelers are capable of pulling out the win Sunday.
What about all those other sites who do expert picks? This is where our friends at NFL Pick Watch come into play. NFL Pick Watch takes all expert picks and puts them into an easy-to-read graph for fans to enjoy.
According to NFL Pick Watch, only 16% of the experts think the Steelers have any chance of winning with Rudolph, or Joshua Dobbs, under center. Will this come to fruition, or will the Steelers’ backups prove worthy of victory? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, the experts are leaning towards the Browns in Week 17.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for Week 17 and the AFC Playoffs.