Steelers massive underdogs against the Browns in Week 17

Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a lot to play for in Week 17. Here’s why oddsmakers heavily favor the Browns in the final game of the season.

It wasn’t easy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers finally locked up the AFC North after a nail-biting comeback win against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16. Though Ben Roethlisberger and the offense got off to yet another very slow start, they really turned things around in the second half as they racked up 21 combined points in quarters three and four.

This week, however, the Steelers are heavy underdogs to the Cleveland Browns; but it’s not because oddsmakers think Pittsburgh is a much worse team than their opponent. Thanks to the win over the Colts last week, Mime Tomlin was able to rest a handful of his verteran players including Ben Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Maurkice Pouncey. As a result, Vegas doesn’t think too highly of Pittsburgh’s chances on the road against a 10-5 Browns team without a few of their best players.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Steelers are whopping 9.5-point underdogs to the Browns, courtesy of The Action Network. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Why Steelers are heavy underdogs

Though Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been among the most efficient quarterbacks in the league this year, oddsmakers aren’t taking kindly to Mason Rudolph’s chances of rallying his team to victory this week. Rudolph has been extremely underwhelming in most of his NFL action through the first three seasons of his career, and there is no reason to expect that to change in Week 17.

With the Browns fighting for a spot in the playoffs, they need this win to get into the tournament. Combine this with the fact that Pittsburgh will be shorthanded this week and the fact that Mason Rudolph will be leading the charge, and we could have the makings of a blowout in favor of Cleveland.

In addition, Pittsburgh may look for early opportunities to rest additional veteran starters and give snaps to younger more inexperienced players. By the second half of the game, it’s possible that Coach Tomlin will have removed all of his notable starters – essentially conceding defeat to their opponent this week.

Related Story. 3 reasons resting Ben Roethlisberger could backfire on Steelers. light

It’s unclear who the Steelers will be matched up against in the first round of the playoffs this week, but resting their veterans seems to be more important than playing for the second seed and hoping Buffalo loses at this point. Either way, Pittsburgh is going to require a dominant run in the playoffs if they want to have a chance at the Super Bowl this year. Let’s hope they are rearing to go after some much-needed rest this week.