NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Football Picks: A Tight Match Between the Steelers and Browns

mitch trubisky pittsburgh steelers nfl quarterback
Mitch Trubisky #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands the ball off to Najee Harris #22 during the first half in the game against the New England Patriots. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images/AFP

Today at TheRX, we take a look into a tight Thursday Night Football encounter, that pits two old AFC North divisional rivals. 

With the sportsbooks favoring the home Cleveland Browns by just over a touchdown -which accounts for their home-field advantage- it’s a very tight match-up to analyze.

With the total line set at 40, those same sportsbooks are expecting a low-scoring game to help keep things tight between the two teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

Thursday, September 22, 2021 – 11:25 PM EDT at First Energy Stadium

  • Spread: Steelers +3.5 – Browns -3.5 
  • Total: Over/Under 40

Pittsburgh Steelers  

I get the impression the Steelers were a little bit miffed not to beat the New England Patriots in their second NFL game after an opening victory over their other divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals –who, let’s not forget, made the Super Bowl LVI final not-so-long ago. 

Happily, the Pittsburgh Steelers came out of Sunday’s game with no big injury worries, and only linebacker Devin Bush is a slight new worry with a foot injury.

That’s going to help head coach Mike Tomlin prepares his troops ahead of battle with their arch-rivals, the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers’ Lineup

Mitch Trubisky has big shoes to fill in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger now retired, and he’s made a promising start at quarterback.

The offense looks capable of scoring points in the coming weeks but the foundations in Pittsburgh, as is often the case with Mike Tomlin’s sides, is their sound defense

Running back Najee Harris has been the brightest offensive threat for the Steelers and looks a promising first draft pick of 2021 for the franchise. 

Cleveland Browns  

If we are summarising that the Pittsburgh Steelers were miffed on Sunday, I think it’s safe to assume the Cleveland Browns will undoubtedly be left feeling choked off by their loss to the New York Jets 30-31 after leading by 30-17 with two minutes remaining on the clock. 

There’s no doubt that in recent NFL seasons the Cleveland Browns have been their own worst enemy at times, and this was an early reminder of their ability to underwhelm and shoot themselves in the foot on occasion. 

A short week and Thursday Night Football in Cleveland offers the earliest opportunity to right the ship and get back on track, and Jacoby Brissett has fitted into Baker Mayfield’s quarterback spot quite promisingly, having beaten Mayfield’s new franchise, the Carolina Panthers in week 1. 

If the Browns hadn’t found a way to lose on Sunday vs. The New York Jets, I’m sure the momentum would have been a good positive in Cleveland. That knockback may test the players’ nerve but there were reasons for encouragement before the late collapse against the Jets. 

Promising Players for the Browns

Nick Chubb looked close to his best with three rushing touchdowns for the Browns against the Jets, while new signing Amari Cooper put up over 100 yards at wide receiver.

The opening game saw Kareem Hunt nicely into his flow at running back, and scoring points in Cleveland this year looks no problem –unless injuries decimate the playing staff for Kevin Stefanski.

How Do the Teams Match Up? 

There’s been no evidence from either team thus far in the 2022/2023 campaigns to suggest this is anything other than a gritty low scoring and tense Thursday Night Football game in prospect.

Rather amazingly, both sides opening two games have been close, with all four matches having no more than a three-point margin between winning and losing. We know there’s always been a history of low-scoring matches on Thursday nights, with teams coming off a short week of preparation. 

We’ve established the Cleveland Browns likely have the best potential on offense, and they are pitted against a solid Mike Tomlin defense. That’s where this match will be won and lost. 

Will the Steelers manage to frustrate the Browns is where the answer lay.

Browns vs. Steelers: Our Betting Picks

This tight AFC North encounter looks set to be a gnarled tough game of Gridiron, with both teams coming off a short week and subconsciously not going 1-2 for the new NFL season. 

It looks a given, that we are in for a tightly contested match and with that in mind, I like the +3.5 spread for the Pittsburgh Steelers at Caesars’ price of -110 for the core of your stake. 

It seems appropriate to add a smaller wager on the moneyline price, given they could frustrate the Browns and their home field nerves after Sunday night’s reverse could spill over, making the Bet365 price of +260 look attractive. 

NFL Pick: Steelers +3.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

NFL Pick: Steelers ML (+160) at Bet365