Steelers to rest Roethlisberger and Bell against Browns

As a result of its commanding 34-6 victory, Pittsburgh has earned a first round bye for the first time since 2010, allowing star Antonio Brown more time to heal before the Steelers begin their playoff journey.

They've been down this road previously, as recently as last season, but Mike Tomlin is still taking a wait-and-see approach as it relates to the division of labor for the upcoming regular-season finale against Cleveland. But that flies in the face of what happened two years ago. If the Patriots and Steelers both lose this Sunday, Tomlin is going to be kicking himself if he finds himself in New England on January 21.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

He didn't get to do it when the Browns lost to the Steelers in Week 1. When any of those three things occur, they need to pull those players out of the game.

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Another storyline that cropped up heading into the Christmas Day game was the Steelers release of James Harrison, the franchise's all-time leader in sacks and fan favorite. Gilbert was previously on the suspended/inactive list as a result of his four-game suspension.

Although Gilbert was more than willing to divulge the Steelers' personnel plans for this week's game, no one else in the team's locker room was willing to confirm (or deny) his information.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who didn't participate in practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday, said Tuesday he would treat this week like a normal week. Yet due to the Steelers likely resting several key players for at least some of the Week 17 contest, the bookmakers have improved the odds in favor of the Browns.

Left guard Ramon Foster and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh were back in practice after missing last week's win over Houston.

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