By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor
THE CLEVELAND Browns quarterback position has been a revolving door this season, but at least one of the more successful signal-callers is back. Jason Campbell is recovered from a concussion and will start.
Does it really matter?
Today when Cleveland visits New England it won’t matter who is behind center. The Browns are in a tailspin and New England is certainly no place you can expect to end the problems that have plagued the team.
Once considered a team with a chance at making the playoffs, the Browns may be lucky to win another game. When you lose to Jacksonville at home like they did last weekend, it doesn’t bode well unless you are hoping for higher draft picks.
And while the Browns defense has good statistics this season, statistics can lie. The real statistic that’s most important is the ability to shut down your opponent when it counts.
Against the Jags the Browns had the late lead, but allowed the Jaguars to drive for a touchdown in the waning moments.
Against Tom Brady today, it might really get ugly. But at least when Brandon Weeden isn’t making fatal mistakes at quarterback, the Browns may have a chance to at least stay in the game.
In fact, Campbell is playing for a chance to re-sign with the Browns next season.
New England has been porous on defense in many games, so if the Browns can develop any kind of offense, they may hang in. Still, look for the Patriots to win, 30-23, and move closer to the division title.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will be home to the Miami Dolphins in a perfect scenario for the Black and Gold — cold with possible snow. It’s never easy for Miami to come north at this time of year as evidenced by the fact that the Dolphins haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1990.
But this isn’t the same dominating Steelers club that welcomed Miami in the past. And it was probably the power of the Steelers rather than the weather that hampered the Fish.
While Pittsburgh might still have a playoff shot, that is pretty unrealistic. The 22-20 loss to Baltimore last Thanksgiving night pretty much put the proverbial nail in the coffin.
However, the Steelers will be playing for pride and if Coach Mike Tomlin can trip a few opponents or make some tackles near the sidelines they may have a chance.
Miami has shown some talent at times this season and is capable of beating Pittsburgh. In fact, I see the Dolphins coming out on top, 20-17.
Last week my predictions went 9-4 for a season mark of 100-76. Following are the rest of this week’s picks (betting line in parentheses just for fun):
Dallas (even) over Chicago
NY Jets (-21⁄2) over Oakland
New Orleans (-4) over Carolina
San Fran (-3) over Seattle
Cincy (-51⁄2) over Indy
Philly (-21⁄2) over Detroit
Kansas City (-31⁄2) over Washington
Baltimore (-7) over Minnesota
Denver (-12) over Tennessee
Arizona (-61⁄2) over St. Louis
San Diego (-3) over San Diego
Tampa (-21⁄2) over Buffalo
Green Bay (no line) over Atlanta