Two weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers had a memorable game on national television that featured Myles Garrett hitting Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. In Week 13, they'll meet again, though the two main players from the event -- Garrett and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph -- may not be factors. Garrett is suspended, while Rudolph was benched in Week 12 for inefficient play. Devlin Hodges replaced Rudolph and led the Steelers to a win over Cincinnati.
Kickoff is set for 1:00 P.M ET on Sunday with CBS broadcasting the game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. Both teams are still alive in the AFC Wild Card race.
Browns Heating UpThe Cleveland Browns are starting to figure things out. They have won three games in a row and find themselves in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. At 5-6, the Browns are just a game behind the Steelers (6-5) for the final spot. Four teams have a 6-5 record in the AFC right now so this is really a big game for the Browns.
Notably, the defense has stepped up for Cleveland over their last three games. They're allowing 15.7 points per game during this stretch, almost 10 points less than their previous eight games (25.6 PA/G). They'll face the Steelers third-string quarterback on Sunday which has them as road favorites in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1989.
Offensively, Baker Mayfield is starting to play better, too, and the emergence of Kareem Hunt has been a big boost. Mayfield had 12 picks in his first seven games but has since thrown just one in his last four, along with eight touchdown passes. Coincidentally, the Browns haven't lost since Hunt returned from his suspension; he's caught 15 passes in three games while averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
Steelers Turn to No. 3 QBThe Pittsburgh Steelers have had an interesting year so far. They are 6-5 in 11 games and hold the final AFC playoff spot going into Week 13. Most of their season has been played without their QB1, Ben Roethlisberger, and this week, they'll start Devlin Hodges, who started the season as their QB3. Hodges led the Steelers to a win in relief last week and earned the nod from head coach Mike Tomlin.
Of the three Steelers quarterbacks to play this year, including Big Ben, the rookie from Samford has the best numbers. Hodges has a team-best 97.7 passer rating in three games and in the two games where he's had 10+ passing attempts, the team is 2-0.
Their two best playmakers, running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, missed last game with injuries and remain questionable for their Week 13 game. Conner finally returned to practice on Thursday while Smith-Schuster sat out again. Smith-Schuster is on pace for 55 receptions and 762 receiving yards, both career-lows.
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games in December.
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Cleveland.
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Pittsburgh.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. AFC North.