The Pittsburgh Steelers will close out their 2016 regular season on Sunday with a home game against the Cleveland Browns and even through they’re likely to rest several starters in that contest, they still opened as 12.5-point favorites, according to VegasInsider.com. That line, however, has now dropped to 7-points at several sportsbooks since it opened.
The Steelers have nothing to play for Sunday against the Browns after clinching the AFC North title and No. 3 seed in the conference with their Christmas night home win over the Baltimore Ravens.
As for the Browns, who won their first game of the season this past Saturday, they currently own the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft thanks to the San Francisco 49ers also winning in Week 16. A loss in week 17 to the Steelers would ensure that first selection remains theirs.
In the Browns 20-17 home win over the San Diego Chargers on Saturday, quarterback Robert Griffin III was forced from the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a concussion. Prior to leaving the contest he had completed 17 of his 25 total pass attempts for 164 yards. Griffin was relieved by rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who finished the game with two completions for 11 yards on three total pass attempts.
Browns tight end Gary Barnidge led his team in receiving with five catches against the Chargers for 42 yards. Running back Isaiah Crowell also rushed for 54 yards and scored both Browns touchdowns on his 16 carries.
While the Browns defense gave up 356 total net yards of offense to the Chargers on Saturday, only 34 of those yards came on the ground. While unable to sack Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during the game, they did intercept him once. Rivers finished the game with 322 yards passing and two touchdowns in addition to his lone interception on 46 total passing attempts. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates led his team in receiving with 8 catches for 94 yards and a score.
The Chargers defense registered 9 sacks against the Browns but failed to force a turnover.
The Chargers had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation but kicker Josh Lambo missed 45-yard field goal as time expired.
It’s still unclear as to which quarterback will start for the Browns in Week 17 against the Steelers.
“There’s a possibility (Kessler) may have to (start),” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said, “but we’ll go through the week and see where Robert (Griffin) is and go from there and determine that decision.”
The over/under for the game between the Steelers and Browns opened up at 45.5-points and has now dropped to 44-points at several sportsbooks.
We’ll likely find out Tuesday who the Steelers will hold out against the Browns when head coach Mike Tomlin holds his weekly press conference.