We’ve had two epic Thursday Night Football showdowns to start the NFL season, and Week 3 gives us a bitter division rivalry between two teams that need a win. We’ll break down the game and give you our predictions and favorite bets to help make the game more enjoyable for you.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
@ FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OHO
How to Watch:
- Day: Thursday, September 15th
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
- Channel: Amazon Prime
Top Sportsbook Promos:
Well, we’re highly unlikely to see the offensive firepower on Thursday Night Football that we saw with Bills-Rams and Chiefs-Chargers, but that doesn’t make this battle any more fierce. There aren’t many more fearsome rivalries in the NFL than Steelers-Browns. I mean, we’ve seen helmet-swinging violence in the middle of these games.
However, both of these teams come into this game a little down.
The Browns were on the wrong end of an epic Jets comeback in Week 2, and their defense really hasn’t been up to par. Despite having Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns are bottom third in the NFL in pressure rate and. have allowed points on 40% of their drives. Garrett wasn’t able to practice on Tuesday due to a neck issue, but he is expected to play, and the Browns will need him to kick-start this defense since Clowney is set to miss with an ankle injury.
This Steelers offense hasn’t been great with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, but they’ve allowed just four sacks in two games and are 4th in the NFL in turnover rate, so they’re not shooting themselves in the foot. They’re just not making big plays either.
You have to wonder how long Pittsburgh will stick with Trubisky while rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett sits on the bench. Pickett looked good during the preseason and could breathe some life into this offense that has solid pieces in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Najee Harris.
When Cleveland has the ball, they will also be counting on a quarterback with a lot to prove. Jacoby Brissett is the unquestioned starter due to Deshaun Watson’s suspension, but that certainly wasn’t the plan coming into the year. However, he simply has to just do enough since they want to run the ball and currently lead the league with 200.5 rushing yards per game.
When Cleveland has the ball, they will likely welcome back offensive tackle Jack Conklin, who missed the first two games of the season. However, Conklin and guard Joel Bitonio, who are both listed as questionable with injuries, will have their hands full with a Steelers defense that still brings solid pressure, even without T.J. Watt, who is out with a torn pec.
Pittsburgh is plus-four in the turnover margin, and while a lot of that came in Week 1 against Cincinnati, Jacoby Brissett is not Joe Burrow. If the Steelers can hold Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in check and force Cleveland to throw, they can make a big play or two on defense and keep this game the close slug-fest that they want. If Cleveland can run effectively and grind out points, the Steelers won’t be able to keep up.
Top Player Props:
If you’re going to be betting on action besides the moneyline, here are three player props we like from Thursday night’s game:
Let’s start with Jacoby Brissett over 12.5 rushing yards. Over his 39 NFL career starts, Brissett is averaging 22.4 rushing yards per game, so we already love this bet after that. Then we factor in 2022, where Brissett has scrambled seven times for 50 yards to start this season. Cleveland is even calling designed runs for him, so I think this is a prop he can certainly top.
However, Pittsburgh can also be beat in the screen game since they have allowed 13 receptions to running backs through two games. Kareem Hunt is a great pass-catcher, so getting him over 2.5 receptions is a bet I like. So far this season Hunt has six receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown and with this being a slug-it-out divisional content, I can see him adding a lot to that on Thursday.
Lastly, let’s add a Pittsburgh prop with Pat Freiermuth over 35.5 receiving yards. Freiermuth is on the field a lot since he ran on just under 80% of dropbacks so far this season. Overall in his career, he’s averaging 6.3 targets, 4.5 receptions, and 40.2 yards per game in his 12 starts. He has a 24.3% target share so far on the season, which makes me like this line for him.