NFL Free Pick: CLE/PIT

AFC North rivals clash in Pittsburgh this Sunday when the Steelers host the lowly Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Who will we give the nod to in our free pick for this game?

Our team of writers and handicappers break down the matchup and hand out a Free NFL Pick for Week 17.

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Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Steelers -11 point spread favorite. The over/under for this game has been set at 34 total points.

Key Trend: Cleveland is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games while Pittsburgh is 4-1 against the number in its last five games. The Steelers are 7-2-1 against the spread in their last 10 games when playing Cleveland.

Key Stat: The Steelers have stifled opponents this year, holding them to 14.9 points per game, while the Browns have only averaged 15.5 points per game.

Game Outlook: Ben Roethlisberger should start, but he’ll only play for a couple of series before the team takes him out and replaces him with Byron Leftwich, who played well in his brief relief appearance this year. It might be tempting to take the Browns considering the Steelers will play most of their backups in the second half, but it’s going to be tough for Cleveland to cover the 11 points when it won’t even score. The Browns couldn’t muster a single point at home last week against a dreadful Bengals team and it’s doubtful they score anything more than a field goal against the best defenses in the league. Even if the Steelers rest most of their defensive starters in the second half, they would have built a decent-sized lead by then and should cruise. Don’t be afraid to lay the points with the Steelers. For the rest of our NFL Free Pick, see below.

Our Free NFL Pick for the Week 17 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers is

PITTSBURGH STEELERS -11

TheSpread.com Projected Final Score

Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Cleveland Browns 3

We also predict that this game will GO UNDER THE TOTAL (34 Sports Interaction.com) SET BY ODDSMAKERS

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Posted: 12/28/08 11:00AM ET

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