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Roethlisberger Will Likely Face the Browns on Sunday

Will Colt McCoy be on the field when the Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday? Probably not, as backup Seneca Wallace is expected to play for the third consecutive game. What about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?

"As long as I can deal with pain, I'll be out there," Roethlisberger said Thursday. "I don't want to let the guys down, so I'll do what I can to be out there."

One might look at this situation and wonder why in the world the Steelers would risk playing Roethlisberger against the same defense that injured his ankle a couple of weeks ago and put him in the current predicament he is in. Two weeks ago, Roethlisberger was not able to do much on a wounded ankle, and it showed as the Steelers were blown out by the 49ers. Last week, the Steelers rested Roethlisberger against an inferior St. Louis Rams team. The result? A 27-0 showing of dominance by Pittsburgh. Cleveland heads into this game with a 4-11 record. Can't Pittsburgh get by with Batch again?

Maybe not. The Steelers' defense had to play a near-perfect game the last time these two teams met because Cleveland's defense played a very physical game against the Steelers, limiting their offense to just one touchdown for most of the game. There is something on the line in terms of the playoffs for this game too. The Browns and the Steelers square off at 4:15 PM EST. So do the Ravens and the Bengals. If the Ravens lose that game, which they very well could against a Bengals team trying to secure the final wildcard spot, then a Pittsburgh win would give them a first-round bye. That first-round bye would be more important to Pittsburgh than giving Roethlisberger another week's worth of rest. The best-case scenario for Pittsburgh? If they come out with an aggressive gameplan and get a nice, big early lead like Baltimore did last week, they can insert Batch into the game and try to drain the clock.

Hopefully the Browns will have none of that. The Browns have already had an impact on the Steelers' season with the Roethlisberger injury, just as the Steelers created an issue with Colt McCoy's injury. A season-ending win could hurt the Browns' draft prospects, but I'll take a win over Pittsburgh in a game they need to have.