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STEELERS AT BROWNS
Talk about 2 teams that had two completely different results in the first week. The Bengals defense came into Week 1 licking their chops as they were set to face a rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco, making his first career start. To add even more intrigue, Baltimore was set to face rookie RB Ray Rice and LaRon McClain since the Ravens deemed RB Willis McGahee (knee) unfit to play. Well, Baltimore won 17-10 and their offense put up 358 yards on the Bengals defense. Flacco scrambled for a 38-yard touchdown in the third quarter that ultimately won the game for Baltimore, and McGahee's replacements rushed for 150 yards. The Bengals defense got no sacks or interceptions and forced two fumbles -- which they recovered. The Bengals weakness in 2007 was their defense and it doesn't look as though much changed heading into 2008. The fact they couldn't rattle a rookie QB or even force him into mistakes is never a good sign. The Bengals need to work on some things.
This week, the Steelers’ offense goes against a depleted Cleveland secondary that will be missing safety Sean Jones (knee cartilage) - the 18th Browns player to miss significant time since camp started. The other starting safety, Mike Pool, has been out a month with a concussion. The Browns currently have only one 2007 secondary starter, cornerback Eric Wright, in their lineup. The other cornerback, Brandon McDonald, was a 2007 fifth-round pick. With the Browns' defense so short-handed, it's likely the Steelers will throw the ball much more than they did against Houston. Roethlisberger is 7-0 against the Browns - he sat out a 2005 game while injured - and is 9-0 in NFL games played in Ohio. In those games against the Browns, Big Ben has 11 touchdowns vs. six interceptions. He has 10 touchdown passes in his past 5 games vs. Browns.
The Steelers Defense and Special Team was good for five sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble vs. Houston in Week 1.
PITTSBURGH is 16-11 against the spread versus CLEVELAND since 1992
Pick: Pittsburgh -6
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