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David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2010
*MIA at NE OAK at KC *CHI at GB BUF at NYJ
*TB at NO TEN at IND *MIN at DET *SD at DEN
CAR at ATL JAC at HOU NYG at WAS *STL at SEA
*Updated *DAL at PHI *CIN at BAL *PIT at CLE ARI at SF

Prediction: PIT 20, CLE 10

Update: Peyton HIllis has been held out of all practices but is not yet ruled out of the game. He may give way to Mike Bell during the game or for the full game and regardless - this is not a good matchup anyway.

The Steelers wrap up a first round bye and the AFC North division with a win here (or a loss by the Ravens to the Bengals). This is a replay of week six when the Steelers won 28-10 in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE L 26-39
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK W 35-3
3 @TB W 38-13 12 @BUF W 19-16
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL W 13-10
5 Bye - 14 CIN W 23-7
6 CLE W 28-10 15 NYJ L 17-22
7 @MIA W 23-22 16 CAR W 27-3
8 @NO L 10-20 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN W 27-21 - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 260,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 80 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 30 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 30 -
WR Hines Ward - 50,1 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Steelers have to win this game to get that round one bye and that should not be a problem even playing in Cleveland. The Steelers have won five of their last six games and are 5-1 in road games this year. The weather should be good and it is unlikely any players would get pulled from this game unless there was a huge lead and even that would be later in the contest. It has been over a month since anyone scored more than 20 points on the Browns.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension to play in the week six game against these Browns and he passed for 257 yards and three touchdowns. But Roethlisberger has not thrown for more than one score since week 11 and has been bouncing around 250 yards for most of the last six weeks. Expect a good showing here by Roethlisberger against a defense that has allowed two passing scores in most of their games.

RUNNING BACKS: Mewelde Moore will probably miss this week with a right knee sprain but his impact was minimal anyway. Rashard Mendenhall has been good for at least one score in most games and had 84 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries against the Browns in the first meeting and added three catches for 15 yards which is about the upper limit to what he does as a receiver. Mendenhall can afford to play the full game too because of the chance for a bye week. The Browns are tough against rushing scores and have only allowed one in Cleveland. But Mendenhall should end up with at least decent yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: In his first game back, Big Ben connected with Hines Ward (5-54) and Mike Wallace (3-90) for touchdown catches and even Emmanuel Sanders had 37 yards on two catches. The Browns are weaker against the pass than the run though that is being cloaked by the lower scores that the defense has been giving up. I actually like a repeat of sorts from that first meeting that nets both Hines Ward and Wallace with touchdown catches. The Steelers need to win this so there should be no waiting around or holding out players.

TIGHT ENDS: Oddly enough, Heath Miller has only scored once this year and it came on the road. But he has only been good for yardage in all other games and he's only safe with yardage every week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 20 12 9 27 11 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 16 14 12 21 16 17
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -4 2 3 -6 5 14


Cleveland Browns (5-10)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB L 14-17 10 NYJ L 20-26
2 KC L 14-16 11 @JAC L 20-24
3 @BAL L 17-24 12 CAR W 24-23
4 CIN W 23-20 13 @MIA W 13-10
5 ATL L 10-20 14 @BUF L 6-13
6 @PIT L 10-28 15 @CIN L 17-19
7 @NO W 30-17 16 BAL L 10-20
8 Bye - 17 PIT --
9 NE W 34-14 - - -
Browns Report | Statistics | Roster
CLEVELAND vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Colt McCoy - - 210,1
RB Peyton Hillis 40 30 -
TE Ben Watson - 60,1 -
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - 40 -
WR Brian Robiskie - 50 -
WR Chansi Stuckey - 20 -
PK Phil Dawson 1 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Browns have made minor strides in the offense this year with the discovery of Peyton Hillis as the devastating runner that dominates this offense. Ben Watson has been a solid receiving tight end but the wide receivers rank #32 for a reason. And the problem this week is that Hillis is banged up and with that, the chances of the Browns doing anything in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Colt McCoy's first game came in Pittsburgh when he surprisingly passed for 281 yards and one score on the Steelers. He has since never been better than 243 passing yards in a game and has five touchdowns thrown in his six games against only six interceptions. Playing the Steelers is not going to be easy with plenty of game film on him and the Steelers motivated to win.

RUNNING BACKS: Peyton Hillis suffered a big shot to his ribs by Ed Reed last week that bothered him in the game and has kept him out of early practices this week. He is expected to play but only ran for 41 yards on 12 carries in the first meeting with the Steelers and added 49 yards on six catches. Playing at home helps but playing with sore ribs won't for a running back who regularly collides with defenders.

Hillis was marginal in the first meeting with the Steelers when he was healthy. Expect a lesser effort in his season finale.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brian Robiskie is finally starting to show up in the box scores with a score in each of the last two games but he only gained 13 yards on two catches in the earlier meeting in Pittsburgh. Mohamed Massaquoi has been marginal at best this year and was actually held to no catches in that first meeting that focused almost entirely on the tight ends anyway. No fantasy starters here this week or any this year.

TIGHT ENDS: In that first game with the Steelers, McCoy had success with his tight ends. Ben Watson brought down six catches for 88 yards and one score while Evan Moore turned in four catches for 84 yards. But Moore is injured reserve now and the Steelers have been one of the best teams against the position this year. I am crediting Watson with a score since he has three on the year including one against the Steelers but the confidence is low.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 30 15 32 10 28 17
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 4 1 6 2 11 10
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CLE -26 -14 -26 -8 -17 -7

WEEK 17
2010
MIA at NE OAK at KC CHI at GB BUF at NYJ
TB at NO TEN at IND MIN at DET SD at DEN
CAR at ATL JAC at HOU NYG at WAS STL at SEA
  DAL at PHI CIN at BAL PIT at CLE ARI at SF
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