For the Cleveland Browns, this is the Last Chance Saloon, as they are looking to avoid becoming the second team ever to go 0-16 on the season. But they have their work cut out for them, as they will be encountering the Pittsburgh Steelers – who still have something to play for – on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM ET at Heinz Field in the Steel City. This game will be televised by CBS on a regional basis, and you are a VietBetcustomer, you can place wagers on while it is happening, utilizing the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
The Browns, who are 3-12 against the football pointspread, have recently gone through some upheaval in front office, where Sashi Brown, head of football operations, has been replaced by John Dorsey. A former GM in Kansas City, Dorsey is an “old school” operator, and so the big experimen thet Browns were doing with an emphasis on analytics, which included the hiring of Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta, could be in jeopardy. Ownership seems to have lost patience, although the Browns have stockpiled draft choices and in fact might have two of the top five selections in the upcoming NFL Draft. Dorsey understands that fans are restless and has declared that anything short of winning the AFC North next season would be a disappointment. The first item on his agenda to find a quarterback, and decide whether Cleveland will take a signal-caller with the first selection or the next one they have, which will likely be #4 or #5. For now, DeShone Kizer, who has thrown an NFL-high 21 interceptions, will get another start.
The Steelers still have something to play for, as they could conceivably get home field advantage in the AFC, even though it would take a home loss by the New England Patriots to make that happen. Antonio Brown is still out of action with his calf injury, but with the Steelers having a first-round bye, he should be okay for the first post-season game. The Steelers are 12-3 straight-up and 6-8 ATS. In the previous meeting between these two teams, which happened in the season opener, Pittsburgh scraped by 21-18, in a game where Le’Veon Bell, who came to training camp very late after contract dispute, had just 32 yards on the ground.
In the pro football betting on this game by the folks at VietBet, the Steelers are a sizable favorite to keep the Browns winless:
Pittsburgh Steelers -11
Cleveland Browns +11
Over 37.5 points -110
Under 37.5 points -110
Naturally there is some speculation as to whether the Steelers will some rest to their starters, especially if they get off to a big early lead. Interestingly enough, the line has come down on this game, from an opening of 16 points. Last week, without Brown, some of the receivers picked up the slack against Houston, with Juju Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant combining for 135 yards. Tight end Vance McDonald also contributed more than he had previously, with four catches for 52 yards. Still, the tight end Ben Roethlisberger will be looking toward is Jesse James, who had two touchdowns in the previous meeting and very nearly brought Pittsburgh a win against New England, only to be victimized by the “Catch Rule.”
When you look at the Browns, you see a team that is only minus-22 in the category of first downs, and in the running game, have had a sizable advantage over opponents, gaining 4.5 yards per carry and yielding only 3.3. You don’t expect a team with those kind of numbers to be 0-15. But this team is the worst in the NFL when it comes to turnover margin, and obviously they have had to endure the growing pains of their rookie quarterback. Head coach Hue Jackson, who has been assured by owner Jimmy Haslam that he will be back next year, made the decision to go with Kizer, principally because his team needed to know what it had in its second-round draft pick before deciding what to do in the next draft. It is safe to say that Kizer has not done enough to inspire confidence that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
The game that was “winnable” for Cleveland would have been last week’s meeting with the Chicago Bears, but they managed only 12 first downs and a single field goal. They won’t find things any smoother against the Steelers, even if Landry Jones logs some significant playing time. What this really looks like to us is a pretty good first-play, because we can imagine head coach Mike Tomlin is motivated to avoid having to play his starters in the second half. So while Pittsburgh won’t be laying down here, we can envision a disparity between concentration levels between the first and second half. And we wouldn’t be surprised if this one went “under” as well.
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