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Browns vs. Steelers game time and preview: 2 battered teams play meaningless game

Thad Lewis will start at quarterback for the Browns Sunday.

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

The Steelers host the Cleveland Browns Sunday (1:00, CBS) in a game that ... well, let's just say it's one of the least-anticipated Steelers games in quite some time. The Steelers were ousted from the playoffs with a 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, and now all they've got on the line is the need to avoid a losing season. (They're currently 7-8.)

The Steelers will have to do it short-handed too -- tight end Heath Miller, wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Curtis Brown and offensive lineman Mike Adams highlight Pittsburgh's injury list. And since it's a meaningless game in Week 17, you should expect to see little-used players see the field a bit more often, anyway. It's also the Steelers' last game before the potential departures of a significant number of well-known players.

The Browns will be short-handed themselves. After yet another poor season (they're currently 5-10), they're expected to fire head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert after Sunday's game. The Browns' top two quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, are both injured, so Thad Lewis will make his first NFL start. (Lewis calls the situation "a childhood dream come true," and you probably don't want your starting quarterback thinking about his job in such a wide-eyed way.) Running back Trent Richardson is also injured, so the Browns will have to trust Montario Hardesty.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.