The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns will go head-to-head at Heinz Field in the 2017 regular season finale in Week 17. Clearly, the 12-3 Steelers are heavy favorites over the 0-15 Browns, but leave it to Las Vegas, and some potential coaching decisions, to make this bet interesting.
After the Steelers beat the Texans in dominating fashion last week, Vegas had the opening line of the Week 17 game set at a whopping 14.5-point spread. Then Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward started to be sat out of practice.
Once the rumors of these starters being rested in Week 17, along with the injured Antonio Brown already being ruled out, Vegas started to adjust the line. By the day the line continued to drop, all the way to the current spread of 10.5-points, in favor of the home team.
While some might suggest the Steelers will be just fine, the fact they will be relying on Landry Jones, Stevan Ridley, B.J. Finney and L.T. Walton/Tyson Alualu to fill some mighty big shoes makes the 10.5-point spread seem mighty daunting.
Landry Jones hasn’t been used much in his tenure with the Steelers, and Ridley, or Fitzgerald Toussaint, is anything but a known commodity. In 2016, the Steelers played the Browns in the same regular season finale, and needed a furious come-from-behind performance, capped off by a Cobi Hamilton touchdown catch, to win the game and keep their winning streak alive.
The goal of winning never changes for competitors, but will the Steelers be able to not just beat the Browns with their backups, but also cover the spread? Tough question, but if you like the Steelers to do just that this Sunday at the Big Ketchup Bottle, you might want to head to the window before the line changes — again.