NFL Picks for Week 14 Thursday Nighter
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on December 10, 2009, 7:17 AM
This is our pick for the one Thursday game in week 14. The full column will be up tomorrow.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland 8:20 PM (Thu) James: You know what? I'm tired of bitching about the Browns being given primetime games. I don't know who in their right mind thinks that the Browns bring ratings, but I'm convinced that they--whoever they are--must have been drinking Clorox before making the 2009-10 schedule. And the worst thing about this one is that the other team in this abomination of a game, the Steelers, are barely even good enough to be called "average" right now. This Steelers team is only going to amplify the overall crappiness. They've lost four games in a row, and Troy Polamalu likely won't even play again this season. I never thought I'd say this, but I really wouldn't be shocked at all to see Cleveland beat Pittsburgh here. Whoever wins, this will not be pretty, folks. Steelers 28 -- Browns 24
Matt: The Steelers need to win this game to preserve any hope of a playoff appearance. The convenient collapse of all of the top wildcard contenders just can't be expected to continue. They also need to do it because it is the Browns. A team that loses to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Browns has no business contending for a playoff spot. Pittsburgh will be trying to avoid extending their losing streak to five games, which would be as long of a slide as I can remember, well ever. They will be playing without Troy Polamalu, and possibly without Hines Ward or William Gay. Polamalu could be done for the season if the Steelers are missing the playoffs. The Steelers have a veteran line-up, and it is starting to show as the injuries pile up from the physical style of play week in and week out. Despite my concerns about the way the Steelers have been playing, the season long game plan still applies. Pick the team that is not the Browns. Steelers 28-18
John: The Steelers are favored by ten right now even though they've lost four straight games with the two of them being against the Chiefs and Raiders. Their last three losses were all by 3 points. They are the masters of losing the close games. Those are two really bad teams. Thing is, the Browns are probably worse. Everybody talks about the Steelers trying to get in the playoffs, but what about the Browns? They're in a three way tie for first pick in the draft and at this point they are in the #1 position based on tiebreakers. They don't want to lose that! There's no question that the biggest issue for the Steelers is their defense, which really misses Troy Polamalu, who has proven in his absence that he's the best defensive player in football. At least he's the most valuable. You see how many guys are open deep in that secondary and you realize just how good Polamalu is at dictating things when he's back there. Still, the offense is above average again with Roethlisberger looking like himself and I don't think they're going to lose a game on a short week to a pedestrian Browns offense. This will be a low scoring, December football game in a cold city. Not pretty to watch, but the Steelers will pull through. I like the Browns for the cover, though. Steelers 24-17
We'll be back Friday for the rest of this week's games.