Steelers vs Browns Betting Odds: Huge AFC North Game For Struggling Rivals

Pittsburgh and Cleveland Are Coming Off Brutal Losses

Week 2 was a disastrous one for the AFC North as all four of its teams lost, each in brutal ways. That was especially true for the Cleveland Browns, who managed to blow a 13-point lead in the final two minutes of their 31-30 loss to the New York Jets last Sunday.

They’ll try to right the ship in front of a (justifiably) angry fan base on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose offense was anemic in a 17-14 defeat last week at the hands of the New England Patriots. The Steelers vs Browns betting odds have Cleveland as comfortable home favorites in this one.

The good news for the Steelers and Browns is that things probably can’t get much worse but, of course, one of them will leave Thursday’s game with a second-straight loss… unless there’s a tie, in which fans of each side will be displeased.

There are also plenty of big names on the Week 3 NFL injury report for both teams, from T.J. Watt (injured reserve) for Pittsburgh to Jadeveon Clowney (out) and Myles Garrett (questionable) for Cleveland. The injury list is worth tracking right up until kickoff, especially for Garrett’s status.

Game Information

  • Game: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
  • Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Day/Time: (5:15 pm PT)
  • Television: Amazon Prime Video

Cleveland’s Pass Rush is Limited

The Browns looked like they were going to run away from Joe Flacco and the Jets last Sunday in large part due to Cleveland’s stout pass rush, which only had two sacks (and a forced fumble) but also had a ton of pressures.

The issue, of course, is that the Browns might be without both on Thursday as Clowney won’t play due to an ankle injury and Garrett is questionable with a neck injury (he also didn’t practice on Tuesday). Cleveland should still be able to contain Mitch Trubisky even with a limited pass rush but it’ll be much tougher.

The Steelers vs Browns betting odds expect the Browns’ defense, particularly the secondary, to bounce back against a Pittsburgh passing offense that was anemic against the Patriots.

Guys like Denzel Ward, John Johnson III, Greg Newsome II and Grant Delpit have to step up, especially in coverage where a few killer breakdowns allowed the Jets to overtake Cleveland in the fourth quarter. The Steelers do have some tough guys to cover on the outside, such as Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, and this could be a good week for Pittsburgh to unleash George Pickens.

Pittsburgh Needs to Stop the Run

Another major positive for the Browns from Week 2 was the play of Nick Chubb, who scored three times (on 17 carries for 87 yards). Chubb has firmly established himself as one of the NFL’s elite backs and he has been running really well so far this season.

Add in the solid play of Kareem Hunt and Cleveland has a scary backfield duo. Without Watt, the Steelers could have a very difficult time limiting the Browns’ ground game, which could be the difference in this one.

The NFL Week 3 odds like Cleveland to win by a drop less than a touchdown and that’s in large part due to how Chubb and Hunt are well-positioned to combine for around 150 yards again.

Pittsburgh gave up nearly five yards per carry against Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson of the Patriots last Sunday and Chubb/Hunt are a much more explosive tandem. The Browns churning out nice runs on first and second down would make things easier for Jacoby Brissett, who looked very good against the Jets.

If Pittsburgh can’t contain Chubb and Hunt, then the Steelers {with their scuffling offense} could have a rough night.

Can Trubisky Step Up?

The offensive formula might look very similar for Pittsburgh, which needs to figure out how to move the ball despite Mitch Trubisky continuing to struggle.

The former No. 2 overall pick threw for just 168 yards with a touchdown and an interception against New England and there have been grumblings in Pittsburgh about how rookie Kenny Pickett might be better-suited to lead the Steelers’ offense than Trubisky.

But, for now, Trubisky is the guy and he’ll have to get a lot of help from Najee Harris {both out of the backfield and in the passing game} to open things up for Trubisky.

If Pittsburgh can establish the run and get Harris some catches, then the Browns’ pass rush will have to lay back a bit and Trubisky could utilize his multiple talented receiving options. But, if Harris only averages 3.3 yards per carry and notches just 49 yards again, like he did against New England, then the Steelers might be forced to rely on Trubisky more than they would prefer. That’s not a winning formula.

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