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Steelers could be underdogs vs. Cleveland for first time since 2003

Steelers v Browns Getty Images

Two division rivals meet next Sunday. Both teams have the same record — four wins, six losses.

As of Monday, the home team is favored at multiple Nevada sportsbooks, according to “The Linemakers” of Sporting News.

Not a big deal, and not especially surprising, right?

Well, when the two teams in question are the Browns and Steelers — and Cleveland is the favored team — well, then it’s kind of interesting.

After all, the Browns have not been favored against the Steelers in 10 years, according to data from Marc Lawrence’s 2013 College and Pro Football Stat and Log Book, a point spread archive. The Steelers were last underdogs to the Browns on November 23, 2003, when Pittsburgh, a three-point underdog, prevailed 13-6 in Cleveland.

In short, if the Browns close as favorites this Sunday, 10 years and one day will have passed since the last time Cleveland wasn’t an underdog to Pittsburgh.

Also, it would mark only the second time the Browns have been favored against the Steelers since returning to NFL play in 1999, according to data from the Jim Feist point spread archives, which covers years 1999-2002 for our purposes.

As of this writing, the Browns are most commonly 1.5- or 2-point favorites over Pittsburgh in Nevada.

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37 Responses to “Steelers could be underdogs vs. Cleveland for first time since 2003”
  1. brownoholic says: Nov 18, 2013 8:32 PM

    If my Brownies make the same mistakes they did Sunday, the Steelers have nothing to worry about. I’ve seen my fellow fans wallowing in the Steelers failures all seasons and’ve wanted to tell them not to get TOO excited . . .

    The 2nd quarter of the Browns/Bengals game gave new meaning to the words SUCK and CHOKE. Held them to 3 first downs and they scored 31 points. All in the 2nd quarter alone.

    Our D can hang w/ anybody and our O is about as inconsistent as they come . . .

  2. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:40 PM

    Prosperous!!!
    The Browns have shown nothing in recent weeks to be considered favorites over a team that’s won four of its last six games. The Lions were two-point favorites over the Steelers yesterday.
    How’d that turn out?
    It’s bad enough that Tomlin had his team totally unprepared for the first four games of the season, but if his team loses to the likes of the Browns, that ought to be considered inexcusable.
    Period.

  3. wimpyburgers says: Nov 18, 2013 8:40 PM

    Steelers (+1) against Cleveland is a sucker’s bet

  4. Stiller43 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:42 PM

    NOT a fan of what the steelers have been doing this season, but anyone whos not a moron can see one team is 1-4 in their last 5 (brownies) and the other is 4-2 in their last 6 (steelers).

    Home field wont mean much. Steelers should be favored, but i myself may take tbe browns.

  5. melikefootball says: Nov 18, 2013 8:42 PM

    How all these fans that had to take watching the Steelers beat them over and over relish such things as being a 2 point favorite at home.

  6. apkyletexas says: Nov 18, 2013 8:42 PM

    Haha – Tommy Maddox picture. Cowher’s old Tommy Gun offense.

    I see what you did there.

    But don’t forget – it was Cleveland that helped resurrect Maddox’s career and gave a start to the Tommy Gun in the first place. Maddox relieved Kordell at QB in 2002 and beat Cleveland in overtime in the 3rd game of the season for his first Steeler win.

  7. Steeley McBeam says: Nov 18, 2013 8:49 PM

    If this is true I will be emptying my savings account into the money line.

  8. steelers88 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:50 PM

    Why would the Steelers be underdogs? Last time I checked Ben will be playing in the game. The Steelers shutdown the Lions offense yesterday for 3 out of the 4 quarters the Browns offense is nowhere close to the Lions offense.

  9. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:55 PM

    apkletexas:
    Maddox also engineered one of the greatest comeback playoff wins in Steelers history against the Browns that season. Bruce Arians was Cleveland’s OC that day.
    Once the Browns got out to big lead, Arians refused to run the ball to take time off the clock, and the Browns’ passing game kept misfiring, which allowed Maddox be the unlikeliest of heroes.
    Good, ole Bruce.

  10. thepftpoet says: Nov 18, 2013 8:56 PM

    I’d take the bye week over the Steelers in the point spread

    #Steelernationiswack

  11. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 18, 2013 9:02 PM

    Mmm nothing like a good ol rivalry oh wait steelers totally have owned them but don’t take this the wrong way browns I actually have been wanting y’all to step up and start beating the ravens and bengals just not us face it the AFC belongs to the steelers

  12. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 18, 2013 9:02 PM

    North**

  13. kev86 says: Nov 18, 2013 9:02 PM

    Bet the ranch on Cleveland. Thank me later.

  14. blackngold4life says: Nov 18, 2013 9:36 PM

    Last time I Checkd the Steelers have beatn the browns 18/20 times that’s has to be he most dominant run by one pro sports franchise over another..and I can guarantee the Steelers wont have 6 fumbles as they did in the last loss they had to them..Noway they should be underdogs..no matter what the record

  15. ballboy48 says: Nov 18, 2013 9:48 PM

    Cleveland’s special teams killed them yesterday. The defense played rediculous, but offense was inconsistent and special teams was downright awful. It will be a close one. If Cleveland can get Hoyer back in time to start next year, they maybe the best team in that division.

  16. jmattharrison says: Nov 18, 2013 10:09 PM

    Browns are a different team at home. That defense is legit. They’ll move the ball this week enough to win. The fans will be into it regardless of their playoff chances as they hate the Steelers. Take the Browns.

  17. Deb says: Nov 18, 2013 10:23 PM

    Please, Vegas … make Pittsburgh the underdogs! That should fire up my Steelers!

  18. ballboy48 says: Nov 18, 2013 10:23 PM

    Funny how the Steeler fans started writing things, only after they started winning a few games. The head to head against the Browns is separated by 8 games, 65-57. It only took the Steelers how many years to catch up?

  19. steelersaregodsteam says: Nov 18, 2013 10:41 PM

    Pittsburgh laughs at Cleveland.

    Ohio is the dirtiest state in the U.S.

  20. johnnyb1976 says: Nov 18, 2013 10:59 PM

    Bengals are 2 1/2 games ahead of EVERYBODY!! In the AFC north. Pittsburg is playing to stay out of last place in the division. So are the browns lol. WHO DEY!!!

  21. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 18, 2013 11:07 PM

    BallBoy I laugh at u the steelers could be 0-15 and could still be the browns lol we beat u 18/20 times even if we do lose that only means u beaten us 3 times out of 10 years

  22. hrdcorbengalsfan says: Nov 18, 2013 11:08 PM

    And the Bengals move on…

  23. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 18, 2013 11:13 PM

    Hey ballboy:
    I can remember when the Browns’ series lead was so lopsided in their favor, I never thought I’d ever live long enough to see the Steelers surpass the Browns by one game let alone by EIGHT games.
    You can be proud.
    I’m pretty sure the Steelers’ remarkable 16-0 streak against the Browns at Three Rivers Stadium, from 1970 to 1986, had a lot to do with closing the gap.

  24. skoodsports says: Nov 19, 2013 12:05 AM

    @ballboy

    If Cleveland goes into 2014 with Brian Hoyer as only option at QB, they’re screwed. The guy had a few good games. But, he’s nothing more than another Derek Anderson flash in the pan.

  25. koenig61 says: Nov 19, 2013 12:28 AM

    Bobzilla1001. I know I’m not the only one who sees what you’re doing with your posts yesterday and today. Your supposed support of Ben, actually praising his play ( what else could you say? , Ben had a great game, gutsy all day 97 yard drive at the end.) So you decided to take a different approach yesterday saying IF Ben keeps playing the same as he did against the lions, the steelers will make the playoffs, and today trying to paint a picture of the browns being horrendous, with zero chance of winning ( which is unfaxtual as the browns D is playing well ) so you decide to say if tomlin were to lose to the browns it’s inexcusable, full well knowing that the steelers have a lot of problems on offense and defense. Players injured Kiesel, Woodley, Thomas, foster, sanders.
    The browns are a much improved team this year so it will be a close game, but what your doing is setting up your argument that if the steelers lose, or if the steelers don’t make the playoffs its because Ben didn’t play to his potential, because Tomlin didn’t prepare the team. I know some of the kiddies who post here might buy into your supposed change of heart in supporting Ben, but I’m 52, so I know exactly what you’re doing. Bobzilla backing Ben? Bobzilla saying the steelers are playoff worthy? Perposterous I say Perposterous !!

  26. cherrybop says: Nov 19, 2013 6:22 AM

    Steelers might own the AFC North this year after all. Surprise surprise.

  27. cherrybop says: Nov 19, 2013 6:25 AM

    Steelers have been troubled this year, but not to the extent where Cleveland could actually beat us. That just doesn’t happen.

  28. pabrownsfan says: Nov 19, 2013 8:12 AM

    I am a bit surprised.

  29. crownofthehelmet says: Nov 19, 2013 9:27 AM

    All of Vegas is licking their chops.

  30. Nofoolnodrool says: Nov 19, 2013 9:55 AM

    Bobzilla1001. I know I’m not the only one who sees what you’re doing with your posts yesterday and today. Your supposed support of Ben, actually praising his play ( what else could you say? , Ben had a great game, gutsy all day 97 yard drive at the end.) So you decided to take a different approach yesterday saying IF Ben keeps playing the same as he did against the lions, the steelers will make the playoffs, and today trying to paint a picture of the browns being horrendous, with zero chance of winning ( which is unfaxtual as the browns D is playing well ) so you decide to say if tomlin were to lose to the browns it’s inexcusable, full well knowing that the steelers have a lot of problems on offense and defense. Players injured Kiesel, Woodley, Thomas, foster, sanders.
    The browns are a much improved team this year so it will be a close game, but what your doing is setting up your argument that if the steelers lose, or if the steelers don’t make the playoffs its because Ben didn’t play to his potential, because Tomlin didn’t prepare the team. I know some of the kiddies who post here might buy into your supposed change of heart in supporting Ben, but I’m 52, so I know exactly what you’re doing. Bobzilla backing Ben? Bobzilla saying the steelers are playoff worthy? Perposterous I say Perposterous !!

    I agree with you Koenig and spotted it yesterday and Ramboo Prune got very upset. As I said he wants to fit in and he has to be right which fits the scenario you eloquently provided. The steelers as they are presently constructed are not a consistent playoff contender as it would take a lot of miracles of the type SteelerBen suggests, but it could happen….not counting on it. BobZ ‘s motto is if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance you baffle them with bull$hit…..not dazzled or baffled ….are you.

  31. alchemistcirca1979 says: Nov 19, 2013 11:08 AM

    Shows how horrible Tomlin and his staff are when they are UNDERDOGS to the Browns. This NEVER would happen with BILL COWHER coaching a Steeler team.

  32. steelcurtainn says: Nov 19, 2013 11:44 AM

    Great! I like the underdog role. I hope the steelers play the underdog role the rest of the year.

  33. yourteamstinks says: Nov 19, 2013 2:45 PM

    WhO DEY…? A team that hasn’t won a playoff game since the 80’s that who….hahaha

  34. quittsburghstoolers says: Nov 19, 2013 3:13 PM

    “Sto Geelers”!

  35. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 19, 2013 3:15 PM

    Koenig:
    The Steelers ARE NOT “playoff worthy.” And regardless of which team captures the AFC’s sixth seed, that team will also not be `playoff worthy.”
    Secondly, Roethlisberger had an amazing game against the Lions. He also played against the 30th-ranked passing defense in the league. So I agree with you: His elite-like performance isn’t likely to be duplicated the rest of the season.
    Feel better?

  36. steelerben says: Nov 19, 2013 3:35 PM

    Am I the only one here that remembers the last game Pittsburgh played in Cleveland?

    1-9 on third down, 5 fumbles, 3 interceptions. 49 rushing yards to 108 for the Browns. Game lost 14-20 (with 7 of those points on a pick six). And that was with a playoff spot on the line.

    I’m not saying that the Steelers can’t win this game. The Browns are far from perfect. But the last time the black and gold went into Cleveland they were embarrassed by a 3-8 team.

    I see no reason for the Browns not to be favored in this game. Both offenses have had their struggles this year and the Browns are playing better defense.

  37. Nofoolnodrool says: Nov 19, 2013 5:44 PM

    bobzilla1001 | Nov 19, 2013, 3:15 PM EST
    Koenig:
    The Steelers ARE NOT “playoff worthy.” And regardless of which team captures the AFC’s sixth seed, that team will also not be `playoff worthy.”
    Secondly, Roethlisberger had an amazing game against the Lions. He also played against the 30th-ranked passing defense in the league. So I agree with you: His elite-like performance isn’t likely to be duplicated the rest of the season.
    Feel better?

    Nah, but reality thanks you for joining the sane.

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