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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns - Week 17 Open Thread

 It's hard to believe it, but here we are in Week 17. The Steelers have accomplished lots up to this point; yet at the same time, divisional crowns aren't something we necessarily write home about. The 'second' season will kickoff for Pittsburgh in two weeks, but as for the regular season, gone. Crazy.

You guys know the routine by now - join the action here on BTSC as the Steelers games unfold each week. I'd expect that this Sunday's thread will be a bit less crazy. The game of course means nothing for us in terms of seeding. Secondly, I think must of us figure that the lion's share of the starters on both sides of the ball will be sat down no later than halftime. And finally, if you take a look at this TV Distribution Map, you'll see that only a handful of markets will be getting this one. I know many of you are making it to your first game in awhile Sunday, so do enjoy! We'll be here in the open thread.

For those looking for a live stream of the Steelers-Browns game - try here.

Be sure to inform us if you find something better. I presume many might opt to watch this one online for a bit rather than heading down to a sports bar.

Here's hoping the offense can execute at will against a mentally and physically depleted Browns team before taking to the sidelines for a big bulk of the game. I know we have next week off too, but I hope we still use this game to rest up our defense. They could use it, and I'm fairly confident our reserves can keep them in check offensively.As for the offense, let them get some work in together for at least a half. That's my take anyway.

Would it be nice to finish the year 8-0 in the division? You bet it would. But if it meant I had to forfeit any possibility of the Steelers winning in exchange for the game to be  played without any injuries - well, then I would take it in a heartbeat.


Below is the breakdown of other key games in the AFC,

Games of Interest with Steelers implications:


1) Miami at New York Jets - you can scroll down the page or go to the next page to find my complete breakdown of the AFC playoff picture. If Miami wins this one, they're the AFC East champions and will face either Baltimore, New England. If the Jets win, they too are in. They hold the tiebreaker over New England if they were to finish with identical records. We'll see how this one goes in New York, but Brett Favre and the Jets sure have looked miserable this past several weeks. Meanwhile, Miami has done a little bit of evetyhing this past two months  to get themselves in this position to secure a playoff berth. Logic says Miami's in the driver seat. Logic's not always the best thin gto apply when predicting who might win each week.

2) Jacksonville at Baltimore - Another fine example of how conventional logic is a risky proposition in the NFL. Two years ago, the lowly LOWLY 49ers beat Denver in Week 17 to eliminate them from the playoffs, bumping the Chiefs up to the conference's #6 seed instead. This is a similar scenario, except in my opinion, this Jaguars team remains more dangerous than nearly every 5-10 team in NFL history. The way I see it, Jack Del Rio could be coaching for his job. I don't think he'll be fired personally, but things have gotten ugly enough in Jacksonville that I'm sure Del Rio knows he can't afford to have his team get embarrassed due to poor preparation. That whole cliche - 'this will be their Super Bowl!' - it's overused, no doubt, but in this instance I don't think this Jaguars team is going to roll over when their opponent is playing for their playoff lives.

Baltimore wins and they are the #6 seed no matter what else happens. What fantastically fun stakes for rookie QB Joe Flacco and 1st year head coach John Harbaugh. Will they be overwhelmed? They would play the AFC East champion on the road in the first round. Barring a

3) New England at Buffalo - Well, if Buffalo hadn't gone out and played an amazing 2nd half of football on the road against the Broncos last week, I'd be very inclined to say that New England was a huge favorite. As is? I'm not so sure. Dick Jauron, despite getting an extension, could very well be on the hotseat if his team lays an absolute egg at home against the hated Pats. The W last week was inspirational and impressive for the Bills, but it still doesn't change the fact that the they blew a 4-0 and 5-1 start with two months of pathetic performances. My point being that Jauron and his staff aren't in the clear just yet.  A victory over the defending AFC champ Pats might make the notoriously impatient Ralph Wilson hold his horses and give Jauron at least on more year. You have to like the team with the coaching edge in this one, and you know of course that the Pats have been through these kinds of tests in recent years. Then again, Matt Cassel wasn't starting at QB back then. New England still has chance to be either the # 3 or the # 6 seed in the AFC with a win and a little help.

4) Denver at San Diego - Enough for, if Denver loses this one, I'll most certainly be writing about their epic collapse at some point in the future. The Broncos, having lost their huge lead out West, now must travel to Qualcomm to take on a very confident Chargers team.  Either San Diego is going to roll bigtime here, or Jay Cutler is going to turn in a performance for the ages. Cutler may very well play great, but I still would never take Denver in this spot. Could the Chargers really sneak in and have another crack at navigating the AFC playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl, something they haven't been able to do during the LT era?

The winner gets Indy at home in Round 1. And in case you were curious, the only way we would see either of these two teams in the playoffs is if they won their first game of course; but also only if the #6 seed were to win in Round 1 and move on to face Tennessee by virtue of pairing the lowest with the highest seeds in Round 2.

LOTS still in play as we get set to kickoff Week 17 in the 2008 NFL Season.