Browns primed to knock off Black & Gold

Minus injured starter Ben Roethlisberger and banged-up backup Byron Leftwich, the Steelers turn to 37-year-old veteran Charlie Batch in Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

Pittsburgh is facing a much-improved Browns’ team despite their unimpressive 2-8 record. Cleveland, however, has been competitive in virtually every outing. Thus, an upset win over the Black & Gold seems a reasonable proposition Sunday on the lakefront.

Cincinnati’s 5-5 Bengals, meanwhile, have regained a measure of momentum and should stay the course this weekend when Oakland invades Paul Brown Stadium.

The AFC North-leading Ravens are in excellent shape at 8-2. Baltimore travels to the west coast to oppose San Diego’s disappointing Chargers.

This column rebounded for a semi-respectable 9-5 ledger last week. Enjoy the holiday weekend!


HOUSTON AT DETROIT. Texans, at 9-1, own three-game lead in AFC South and may not be operating at peak proficiency in Detroit’s annual Turkey Day encounter. TEXANS, 28-21.

WASHINGTON AT DALLAS. Another good matchup in the Big ‘D’ where RGIII attempts to cool off Tony Romo and company. REDSKINS, 30-26.

NEW ENGLAND AT NEW YORK JETS. Pats own three-game lead in AFC North and should increase that spread tonight on NBC. PATRIOTS, 24-17.


TENNESSEE AT JACKSONVILLE. Jaguars showed signs of life last week in near-upset of Houston. Titans, at 4-6, are almost impossible to figure out. TITANS, 21-17.

ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY. Falcons (9-1) own three-game upperhand in NFC South while Bucs are coming on strong. FALCONS, 33-20.

SEATTLE AT MIAMI. Dolphins in near must-win mode with Seattle (6-4) attempting to stay on heels of NFC West-leading Niners. DOLPHINS, 17-14.

PITTSBURGH AT CLEVELAND. Brownies appear primed to pull upset. But Black & Gold’s run game and always-formidable defense make the difference. STEELERS, 20-13.

OAKLAND AT CINCINNATI. Andy Dalton and company back in business and should have relatively easy going vs. 3-7 Raiders. BENGALS, 37-21.

BUFFALO AT INDIANAPOLIS. Bills are hot and cold commodity. Indy and Andrew Luck can achieve victory number seven. COLTS, 28-17.

MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO. Black & Blue Division battle. Bears will need supreme defensive effort if Jay Cutler can’t go. BEARS, 13-10.

DENVER AT KANSAS CITY. Absolutely no reason to go against Peyton Manning and 7-3 Broncos. Thus, on a sheer hunch, the season’s premier Upset Special to date. CHIEFS, 23-20.

BALTIMORE AT SAN DIEGO. Ravens often struggle on the road before eventually prevailing. Should be a productive afternoon for Ray Rice. RAVENS, 20-17.

SAN FRANCISCO AT NEW ORLEANS. After starting 0-4, Saints have come alive, winning five of past six. But, here’s their biggest measuring stick and another upset in the making. SAINTS, 24-21.

GREEN BAY AT NEW YORK GIANTS. Heat up the Thanksgiving leftovers and enjoy what should be a highly-entertaining prime time affair. GIANTS, 33-27.


CAROLINA AT PHILADELPHIA. Plenty of good seats available for this potential snoozefest. Lets’s go Philly by default. EAGLES, 27-20.


Gibson may be reached at