Thursday, December 8, 2011
NFL Week 14 Picks: Steelers Should Dominate the Browns on Thursday Night
Cleveland Browns (4-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
Although they are division rivals, this game has all the makings of a blowout.
The Steelers have won three in a row while the Browns have lost two in a row and five of their last six.
Cleveland, surprisingly, is first in the league in passing yards allowed, yielding only 173.3 yards per game. The Steelers don’t necessarily rely on the pass though. There are plenty of times Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers aren’t pretty but the team guts out a win. In fact, in the past two games Roethlisberger has failed to reach 200 passing yards and last week he recorded his lowest total of the season (176 yards) but the team had its biggest winning margin of the season.
It’s what Cleveland can’t do that will determine the outcome in this game.
The Browns are 30th in the NFL in yards gained (24th in passing yards per game and 30th in rushing yards per game) and 28th in points scored per game. They can’t move the ball or put it in the endzone and against the Steelers defense—first in total yards allowed and fourth in points per game allowed—things only get more difficult.
Viewers should expect to see a lot of Rashard Mendenhall as the Browns are 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. They'll take advantage of a poor run defense and then just keep hitting them when they're up big to drain the clock.
Last Week: 9-7
Rashard Mendenhall: AP Photo/Don Wright