Browns vs. Steelers: Staff predictions for the season finale
The Cleveland Browns shocked us all by picking up a win last week. Can they do it again in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The season if finally coming to an end today as the Cleveland Browns look to do the impossible and end the season on a two-game winning streak.
After surprising us all last week, today’s task may be a bit tougher. Let’s see what the staff thinks.
Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 11-4): Steelers 27, Browns 10
Last week’s win was unbelievable, no doubt. But with the Browns barely surviving a poor Chargers team thanks to penalties and two special teams blunders, there is no reason to believe they can go toe to toe with Pittsburgh. Sure, the Steelers will be without three of their offensive superstars. But Landry Jones is still a capable quarterback, and Pittsburgh has two tight ends in Jesse James and Ladarius Green who will give the Browns troubles defensively.
It won’t be easy for Cleveland’s offense against Pittsburgh’s pass rush, as they will move the ball but struggle to finish. The only chance the Browns have in this one is if they were to match up with the Steelers offensively. They can’t, so it will be a disappointing end to a forgettable season.
Tom Moore (2016 record: 14-1): Steelers 24, Browns 10
Sunday brings about the end of a long and tiring season from the Cleveland Browns and it will be a fitting end as the Browns travel to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will be resting their key players, which gives the Browns the hope of a meaningless season-ending victory that could foil the long-term draft plans. But the Browns do not plan to give up the first-round pick that easily as they will once again turn to Robert Griffin III – statistically one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL – as the starter at quarterback.
The Browns have not won in Pittsburgh since 2003, and try as they might the Steelers won’t be able to give away today’s game.
Roger Cohen (2016 record: 12-3): Steelers 34, Browns 13
I’m not hoping for a Browns loss to secure the #1 draft pick, because it’s always good to shut up Steeler Nation even if Ben, Brown and Bell are DNP Coaches Decision. Plus, since there’s no “sure thing” Andrew Luck talent, we could do without the pressure of that top choice.
But not to worry — these are the Browns so I see a typical last game Heinz Field beatdown as Landry Jones (remember, he could have beaten us last time) hits his tight ends for a couple of TDs, the Steeler backups rush for about 200+ yards and RG3 stumbles through another sack and misfire-fest towards a 34-13 crusher in hopefully, his last game in brown and orange.
Joel Cade (2016 record: 12-3): Browns 20, Steelers 17
The Cleveland Browns head to Pittsburgh with a fan base divided. Some want the team to lose to earn the number one overall pick in the draft. Others would like to see the Browns win two games to end the season. Any effort less than an attempt to beat the Steelers would be a disappointment.
It is time for Hue Jackson to pull out all the stops and go for the win! With Robert Griffin III at quarterback and Terrelle Pryor heading into free agency, this is the time to run every trick play Hue Jackson has. It will be interesting to watch the latest offensive line overhaul with Anthony Fabiano at center and Cameron Erving moving over to right tackle. Now is the time to do everything to win. It is the last game of the season, can’t hold anything back!
On defense, the Browns may get a small reprieve with the possible resting of starters by the Steelers’ offense. The defense will still have its hands full with capable and proven backups. It should be interesting.
Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 9-6): Steelers 27, Browns 13
There was already a Christmas miracle. Don’t expect a New Year’s miracle.
The Browns played a solid game en route to a win over the Chargers, but the Steelers are a playoff team. And even though the Browns will be facing some backup players, there is not a great chance of pulling off a second win this season.
The main problem is that RG3 is starting at quarterback in what should be another display of inefficient play from the former phenom. This could lead Cody Kessler to get some playing time, but the Pittsburgh defense won’t allow success from either player. This game is luckily not the final one of an 0-16 season, making the result unimportant in the grand scheme of the season. On to the Draft.
Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 13-1): Steelers 27, Browns 16
The 2016 finale has finally arrived after an abysmal season. The Browns travel to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers who clinched the AFC North last week. The Steelers are resting their primary weapons in Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell so the Browns look to capitalize on that.
Of course, the Browns currently have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft although with a win and a San Francisco loss, that changes. Myles Garrett is far and away the best player in the upcoming draft and Cleveland is more than interested. Several members from the organization were scouting Garrett in his final game just days ago and although losing is never the game plan – it won’t be disappointing for the front office if they do. The Steelers backups are proven veterans and the Browns simply don’t have veterans to match Pittsburgh on the road.
RG3 is the starter and has one last opportunity to display his talents to justify another season in Cleveland. Expect him to be the one leading the way for the Browns against an average defense, creating plays with his legs as he did last week. Still, the Browns are the worst team in this league and the Steelers veteran bench players will stick to the game plan and add on one last loss to Cleveland’s record.
Eric Szczepinski (2016 record: 9-5): Steelers 23, Browns 16
The weight of a defeated season is off the shoulders of Hue Jackson and his team. Now that the pressure of making history for the wrong reasons is removed the team can begin preparations for a crucial offseason. The Steelers have clinched the AFC North and will sit key starters in the season finale.
Despite this, Pittsburgh’s preparation for the playoffs will begin with a solid week’s work against the Browns. Robert Griffin III will start for the Browns to make one last audition on why he should be the Browns’ starter for the future. However, a playoff bound Steelers team will find a way to win at home.
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