National Football League
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 1, 2017
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Steelers already have wrapped up the AFC North and are surging toward the postseason with a six-game winning streak. The Steelers will try to balance staying sharp with avoiding injuries when they host the Cleveland Browns in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Star running back Le'Veon Bell is not expected to play in the finale and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and center Maurkice Pouncey will receive "rest consideration," according to coach Mike Tomlin. "At this time of year, everyone is a little banged-up and hurting,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “If Coach says take the day off, I’m not going to argue. ... Staying mentally strong is huge this time of year, being mentally ready to go, because it’s been a long season. Physically, it can be better if you get healthy and rested up." The Browns ensured they would not go winless this season by posting a 20-17 victory over San Diego last week and already are looking toward the future. Cleveland would lock up the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft with a loss this week.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -6. O/U: 43

ABOUT THE BROWNS (1-14): Cleveland is evaluating the players on its roster for next season and will take a long look at quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is out of the concussion protocol and expected to start on Sunday. Griffin is 58-of-107 for 654 yards and no touchdowns in an injury-plagued first season with the Browns but was sharp against the Chargers before getting knocked out of the game. "We have seen him get better from the first opportunity to the second to the third," coach Hue Jackson told reporters. "Hopefully, he can keep making jumps as you go, because that says a lot to me."

ABOUT THE STEELERS (10-5): Pittsburgh is locked into the No. 3 spot in the AFC and a first-round date with Miami, and Roethlisberger already has his focus on that contest. "I’ll do whatever is needed," he told reporters of his plans this week. "Help (backup quarterback Landry Jones) prepare, do the Miami stuff or whoever, start preparing for the playoff game when I can." The Steelers' winning streak began at Cleveland in Week 11, when Bell piled up 201 total yards and a rushing touchdown in a 24-9 triumph.


1. Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams (knee) could return from an eight-game absence on Sunday.

2. Cleveland rookie QB Cody Kessler will serve as the backup to Griffin.

3. Pittsburgh TE Ladarius Green (concussion) and WR Sammie Coates (hamstring) are questionable.

PREDICTION: Browns 21, Steelers 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Cleveland 1-14 W1 16.0 28.3 1-7 0-7 1-11 0-1 - - 1-10
Pittsburgh 10-5 W6 24.8 20.2 5-2 5-3 7-4 1-0 - - 8-3
Last Meeting
Cleveland Pittsburgh
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/20/16 PIT 24 CLE 9 209 33 176 313 146 167
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cleveland C. Kessler 50.0 128 0 1
Pittsburgh B. Roethlisberger 63.9 167 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cleveland J. McCown 2 11 5.5 0
Pittsburgh L. Bell 28 146 5.2 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cleveland T. Pryor Sr. 5 97 19.4 0
Pittsburgh A. Brown 8 76 9.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Cleveland G. Barnidge 1
Pittsburgh L. Bell 1
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cleveland C. Kessler 65.6 1380 6 2
Pittsburgh B. Roethlisberger 64.4 3819 29 13
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cleveland I. Crowell 179 800 4.5 7
Pittsburgh L. Bell 261 1268 4.9 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cleveland T. Pryor Sr. 70 913 13.0 4
Pittsburgh A. Brown 106 1284 12.1 12
Touchdowns Player TD
Cleveland I. Crowell 7
Pittsburgh A. Brown 12