The Browns have been given a big advantage in Sunday’s game against the Steelers, and the oddsmakers have noticed.
Cleveland is now a 10-point favorite over Pittsburgh after the news that Mike Tomlin has decided not to play Ben Roethlisberger and other key starters on Sunday. The Browns opened as four-point favorites over the Steelers.
The Steelers’ decision is a huge boost to the Browns’ playoff hopes, as Cleveland clinches a wild card berth with a win. It’s also a tough blow to the Ravens, Dolphins and Colts, all of whom would benefit from a Browns loss.
Pittsburgh will be either the No. 2 seed or No. 3 seed in the AFC. In past years, that was a big difference, as the No. 2 seed received a first-round playoff bye. But this year, with seven teams making the playoffs in each conference, there’s less incentive to play for the No. 2 seed, and so the Steelers will be satisfied with giving their best players Sunday off, and perhaps handing a playoff berth to the Browns.