Found December 29, 2012 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Pittsburgh Steelers have nothing left to play for during the 2012 season. The only thing left to determine is where they will be selecting during the 2013 NFL Draft. Cleveland, who the Steelers will be playing in week 17 for the second straight year, also has nothing left to play for. Today it was announced that the Browns would be firing their general manager and head coach on Monday regardless of the outcome of this game. For the Steelers this game will end an uninspiring second half of the season and leave the Steelers with their first non-winning record under Mike Tomlin at either 8-8 or 7-9. Due to injuries and other reasons this game could turn into more of a pre-season type game then a normal week 17 NFL match-up. For Cleveland their third string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, will get the start with both Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy out with injuries. Running back Trent Richardson will also be on the sidelines Sunday due to an injury leaving the Browns very depleted on offense. Pittsburgh will also be without some key players that have already been ruled out and may rule a few more out before the game starts. Since their loss to Cincinnati last week the Steelers have placed tight end Heath Miller, wide receiver Mike Wallace, corner Curtis Brown, running back Baron Batch, tackle Mike Adams and corner Ike Taylor on injured reserve. Replacing them on the roster are wide receiver David Gilreath, nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, tight end Jamie McCoy, linebacker Marshall McFadden, safety Damon Cromartie-Smith, and they signed defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. There is a good chance that both teams will be playing a lot of young players on Sunday with nothing to gain with a win. Neither team wishes to subject their players to injury in a meaningless game and therefore players such as Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger, who are already battling injuries, may not see much playing time.   Keys to the game: 1.) Stay Healthy – In week 17 of last year the Steelers lost Rashard Mendenhall to a torn ACL. He wasn’t able to return fully until mid-way into the 2012 season. The Steelers should do everything in their power to make sure that they don’t have any key players suffer injuries like that in this game. There is nothing to gain by winning this game, but the risk of a player such as Ben Roethlisberger suffering a major injury that affects the 2013 season proves there is a lot to lose. 2.) Get a Look at the Young Guys – The Steelers have a strong veteran core so there are a lot of younger players that have never been given a chance to play extended snaps in regular season games. With nothing to gain by winning this is the perfect opportunity to see what they have in guys like Cameron Heyward, Jason Worilds, Stevenson Sylvester, Rob Golden, Alameda Ta’amu, among others.   Prediction: Neither team has anything to gain by winning on Sunday, but both have plenty to lose with injuries and draft picks in the balance. It is unlikely that the Steelers will lose this game with the Browns forced to start a third string quarterback as well as their back-up running back. However, a loss would be much more beneficial in terms of the 2013 NFL Draft and getting the best possible player to help the team re-load for 2013. Some fans have questioned my (and others) fan-ship for wanting to lose the game and get a better draft pick, but it really isn’t as crazy as it sounds. With nothing to gain by winning there is no reason to win. I and others who feel the same would never root against the Steelers ever and won’t on Sunday, but we’d rather lose than win. A loss could mean the 10th pick in the draft while a win could push the Steelers back to pick #19. That’s a huge difference and could cost the Steelers the type of impact player that could really impact the team in 2013. As a friend of mine said: Being .500 at the end of the year is not important it’s just a wasted game on top of a disgusting season. The 12th pick in round 1 and throughout will be much more beneficial then a random game in the past that is irrelevant to anything. That being said I still don’t see the Steelers losing to a depleted Browns team. Steelers win 17-13 and finish 8-8. The post Week 17: The Pittsburgh Steelers vs The Cleveland Browns appeared first on SteelBlitz.

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