Steelers Our NFL Pick To Take Down Divisional Rivals Browns

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 4:31 PM GMT

The Steelers will try to get back on track when they take on AFC North cellar dwellers, the Browns. Below we analyze this matchup & determine the right side to include in our Week 17 NFL picks.

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NFL Pick: Play Steelers -10 (-105) 
Best Line Offered: at GTBets

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6 SU, 7-5-3 ATS)
Divisional games can be risky business and so it was that the Pittsburgh Steelers, installed as 11-point home chalk by the NFL odds makers over the bloodied, battered and beaten Baltimore Ravens, were shocked with not only a failed cover but an outright 20-17 loss. The key to Pittsburgh’s loss was Baltimore’s time of possession (TOP) advantage. The Steelers dipped below 30 minutes in terms of TOP for the first time since November 15th when they played Johnny Football and the Cleveland Browns. Normally the Steelers keep Big Ben and his wildly successful offense on the field of play and scoring points in bunches but last Sunday Pittsburgh could only manage 25 minutes and 40 seconds in Baltimore. Bottom line – keep the Steelers offense on the field and Pittsburgh wins more often than not.

Ben Roethlisberger will have to be sharper than he was last week against the Ravens. Big Ben had an uncharacteristically unproductive game tossing for only 215 yards, no touchdown passes and two interceptions. Thus the passing game never go on track and therefore superstar wideout Antonio Brown was limited to just 61 receiving yards while Martavis Bryant was targeted only three times and caught only a single pass for six yards. However DeAngelo Williams had a fine game with 100 yards rushing on 17 carries (5.9 yards per carry) and caught all six passes thrown his way for 53 yards with a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Must Read: Examining False Favorites & Top Dogs For Our Week 17 NFL Picks

Cleveland Browns (3-12 SU, 5-9-1 ATS)
Give the Browns credit. They went into Arrowhead Stadium against a streaking Chiefs team and gave them all they could handle. Ultimately the Brownies came up short falling 17-13 but if you were bold enough to grab the 11 points and include Cleveland in your NFL picks then you cashed out of that game a happy man. Johnny Manziel provided a spark with his feet as he dashed his way to 108 yards rushing but passed for only 136 yards on 32 attempts with no touchdowns and one pick.

While the Browns continue to grind away on offense, as evidenced by a 21-play drive that gobbled up 12 minutes and 62 yards, their defense was on point against Alex Smith and the Chiefs. Kansas City was held to only 258 yards of total offense. Cleveland approaches Week 17 with the 29th ranked offense averaging only 17.7 points per game and coincidentally the 29th ranked defense surrendering 26.9 point per contest. But the Browns are in the middle of the pack in terms of passing yards per game with 240.3 and rushing yards with 96.2. Manziel will get the nod once again over Austin Davis to be under center in the regular season finale.

 

Betting Analysis
I am not prone to following the masses on teams that need to win games as oftentimes results fall short of expectations but in this case I am all in with Pittsburgh. The Browns are ill-equipped to handle this Pittsburgh offense while their offense revolves around the happy feet of Johnny Manziel and a tall, rangy tight end named Gary Barnidge.

Outside of Manziel’s ability to move out of the pocket and gain yardage on the perimeter there is little in the way of anything that will compromise Pittsburgh’s 11th ranked defense, allowing 20.5 points per game. That average will only get better after Sunday’s meeting with their divisional rivals and Big Ben will certainly experience an uptick over a lackluster performance in Baltimore last week. The Steelers will put the pedal to the metal in this one and won’t lay off until the final whistle.