NFL Football Betting Preview
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) at Cleveland Browns (1-11)
Thursday December 10th, 8:20PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Pittsburgh -10, 33 ½ O/U
The Pittsburgh Steelers were blindsided by the Oakland Raiders last week in a 27-24 defeat which put a big damper on their playoff chances. Pittsburgh who now sits at 6-6 is on the verge on needing to win out or at least win 3 of their last 4 to have a good shot at the postseason. The Steelers go on the road this Thursday night to play the Cleveland Cavaliers that are just 1-11 on the year which should be a sign of optimism for the defending Super Bowl Champions. However, the Browns have played opponents fairly well in the last few games keeping outcomes close and they are hungry for another victory. Could the Browns have what it takes to knock off the Steelers this Thursday night?
Cleveland started off stone cold last week as the Chargers jumped on them quickly 27-7. However, the Browns rallied in the 4th quarter scoring 16 points and got it down to just a touchdown before the final whistle blew. Now the question turns to will the Browns come out hot with some momentum Thursday night? Well if that is to happen, they will need QB Brady Quinn to play well against the Steelers secondary. Oakland’s Bruce Gradkowski threw for over 300 yards in the upset victory over the Steelers and the best way to attack the Steelers defense will again be through the air. Quinn threw a season high 45 passes while completing 25 for 271 yards last week with 3 touchdowns.
Rookie Mohamed Massaquoi has been the only consistent target in the passing game and surprisingly the only wide receiver on the team with over 200 yards which is pretty pitiful for a receiving group. However, Massaquoi has put up 509 yards and the Browns had a breakout game from another rookie in Brian Robiskie last week. Running back Jamal Lewis has been mediocre at best and the Browns run the ball about as well as Pittsburgh does and that is not very good. If the Browns are going to keep the Steelers defense on their toes, they must get Quinn to hook up with some of the young receivers and keep the ball moving.
As for the Steelers, their offense normally relies on QB Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game. After all, wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes make up a deadly duo in the air attack combining for nearly 1900 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. However, this Thursday night I really think the Steelers will try to establish the running game a lot more. The Cleveland defense gives up an NFL worse 400 yards per game and 154 of those yards have been on the ground each game. Also, when the Steelers run the ball well they are tough for any team to beat and they can have a lot of success between the tackles of the Browns defensive front. Youngster running back Rashard Mendenhall has proved that he may be the back of the future in Pittsburgh and is coming off a 103 yard performance against the Raiders. Expect Mendenhall to get a load of carries early in the game as Pittsburgh will try to put some points on the board with some smash mouth football. Only if that does not work or the Steelers defense struggles will you see a lot of Roethlisberger and the air attack if all goes according to play. Not to say that Roethlisberger will not be a factor, but the running game will control the outcome this Thursday.
Pick – Under 33 ½