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Injury-Depleted Pittsburgh Steelers Favored to Beat Cleveland Browns


The Pittsburgh Steelers have seen their season turned on its head the past two weeks with a big loss to the Baltimore Ravens and even bigger losses at quarterback. With last week’s starter Byron Leftwich joining Ben Roethlisberger sidelined by injury, the Steelers will look to find a way to get it done against the Cleveland Browns Sunday with third-stringer Charlie Batch at the helm.

Injuries have plagued Pittsburgh all season and this week is particularly difficult. In fact, as of Wednesday morning neither Las Vegas or offshore outlets were offering NFL odds on this game because of the injury situation.

The Steelers must be in a reflective mood this week following their loss to the Ravens, which left them two games back in the AFC North, and hearing news Roethlisberger could be out for the season. Pittsburgh faces another immediate need this week as wide receivers Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery are both doubtful to play against the Browns. As a result, Pittsburgh signed free agent red-zone specialist Plaxico Burress off the scrap heap to aid the offensive attack.

Burress will be targeted by the seldom-used Batch,  a veteran who has performed well while making just seven starts since signing with the Steelers in 2003. In the Browns, Batch will catch a break as he gets to face a secondary that’s also depleted by injury. He’ll look to build on a decent tenure in Pittsburgh that’s seen him go 5-2 while completing 60.2 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Pittsburgh has a firm hold on an AFC wild card spot, but things could prove difficult moving forward without Roethlisberger leading the charge. That would make this winnable game against the Browns of utmost importance. A veteran team like the Steelers tend to come through in these types of situations so look for a hard-fought straight-up win.

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