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Pittsburgh Steelers: Why Ben Roethlisberger Needs to Play Against the Browns

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IDecember 31, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers: Why Ben Roethlisberger Needs to Play Against the Browns

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    There are numerous articles here on B/R about Ben Roethlisberger and his availability Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Here and here are just two of them.

    Though a good argument can be, and is, made for the Steelers not to play Ben Roethlisberger, I respectfully have to disagree.

    Here are the reasons the Big Ben should, could and will play against the Browns.

Ben Roethlisberger Is the Leader of This Team

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    Ben Roethlisberger is the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Make no mistake, Ben is the reason the Steelers are one of the most successful teams in the NFL right now. If he can play (he practiced), then he should play.

    For Ben to be playing, it tears down any excuse any other player may have about playing hurt. Not saying that that happens often in Pittsburgh, but seeing your QB playing makes you play harder.

The Steelers Need to Win the Game

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    For starters, you never want to lose a game. Especially against a hated rival—especially against the Cleveland Browns.

    And you certainly never want to lose a game headed into the postseason.

    Charlie Batch showed against the Browns the last time these two teams played that he was unable to move the ball against the Browns second-ranked pass defense. Yes, I know Batch beat up the Rams. We could get 11 writers from this site to beat up the Rams.

    The Steelers' best chance of winning this game is Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Not Conceding the AFC North

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    Right now, the Steelers have the same record as the Baltimore Ravens. The only way they will win the AFC North is if they beat the Browns and the Ravens lose to the Bengals.

    The last time the Ravens played the Bengals, they won a very controversial game. The Bengals were robbed of a TD and realistically could have won the game.

    That game was in Baltimore. This game is in Cincinnati.

    The Bengals have defeated the Ravens in Cincinnati the last two times they played and are 5-1 in their last six games in the Queen City.

    Cincinnati is playing with their playoff hopes on the line: Win, and they are in the playoffs.

    The Ravens are playing with a hobbled Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin and Marshal Yanda. The Bengals are playing hungry.

Playoff Seeding

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    If the Steelers win (which I believe they need Ben to do) and the Ravens lose (which I believe they will), then the Steelers will win the AFC North.

    By doing so, they will become the No. 2 seed and push the Ravens to No. 5.

    That means the Steelers get a bye week. That means the Ravens have another year of playoffs on the road.

    The Ravens are 8-0 at home this season, and 3-4 on the road. If these two teams have to play again, the outcome of the seeding will determine where this game is going to be played.

    Personally, I would rather play in Pittsburgh.

Not Playing Scared

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    Some people that don't want the Steelers to play Big Ben are afraid that he is going to get hurt, and that he won't be available for the playoffs.

    You can't play scared.

    Yes, Ben can get injured and miss the playoffs. That does not mean he is going to get hurt and miss the playoffs.

    Football is a tough game, and for a player, team or fan to simply want to give up on all that the Steelers can get if the cards fall right, that is just a shame.

    Ben could have played against the Rams last weekend, but didn't. To sit him against the Browns when he is ready, willing and able to play, is playing scared.

    That's just not Big Ben or the Pittsburgh Steelers way.

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