Things are heating up heading into Week 3 of the NFL season.
• In the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers renew their bitter rivalry.
• In AFC East, the Dolphins look to build on their amazing comeback win by beating the Buffalo Bills who have been the most impressive team in the league so far this season.
• Finally, to wrap up these divisional battles we have an NFC West matchup between the Arizona Cardinals who host the L.A Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
Thursday, September 22, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at FirstEnergy Stadium
AFC North Battle Will Be Low Scoring
This is one of the most bitter rivalries in the league and don’t expect that to change just because some of the faces have changed on both sides. The AFC North is wide open at the moment with three 1-1 teams and the Bengals who sit at 0-2.
The line for this game opened at Cleveland at -3.5 with the total opening at 40.5. It now sits at Cleveland -4.5 and the total has been steamed down to 38.5 at most of the top online sportsbooks.
Historically, these are not high-scoring games even though the quarterbacks for each respective team were slightly better than what they have now. Mitch Trubisky can never be compared to Ben Roethlisberger but Big Ben was not anywhere near his best for the last few seasons.
As for the comparison between Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett, there is no evidence in the first two weeks of this season that there is any significant downgrade here.
Pick and Prediction
The Steelers have one of the league’s best defenses, adept at stopping the run and the passing game as well. While Cleveland’s offense has looked good to start the season, I think that has more to do with their strength of schedule to start the season.
I think both of these offenses are closer to the bottom of the league than not and in this atmosphere, I don’t see a high-scoring game at all. In fact, I believe neither team scores over 20 points which is why my official NFL pick for this game is Under 38.8 (-110) at FanDuel.
NFL Pick: Under 38.5 (-110) at FanDuel
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium
AFC East Has a Some New Blood at the Top
For almost two decades, the New England Patriots dominated the AFC East. Since the departure of Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, the Buffalo Bills have taken over as the cream of the crop in the division. After the first two weeks of the season, they look like the best team in the entire league.
They aren’t the only ones looking to take the next step in their ascension with the Miami Dolphins looking like they might be ready to make some noise this year. This line opened at Bills -4.5 and has been steamed up to -6 while the total opened at 51.5 and has moved up slightly to 52.
At the moment, Buffalo has the best defense in the league. That said, I don’t think that’ll last 16 weeks and I expect them to be tested heavily against this Miami team.
As good as he looked last week, I’m still not 100% convinced by Tua Tagovailoa. I’m not saying he isn’t the real deal, I am saying he is way too inconsistent to say he is after one very impressive comeback win.
Pick and Prediction
I will say that I do believe Tua has enough weapons around him now with the addition of Tyreek Hill that he can cause the Bills’ defense some problems. On the flip side, the Bills look like they can get points against anyone in this league right now.
Last season Miami scored a total of 11 points in two games against the Bills including a 35-0 home loss. If you think they don’t remember getting embarrassed like that by a division rival at home, then you don’t know anything about divisional rivalries.
Miami sees itself as a team on the rise and rightly so. I believe they go punch for punch with the heavyweight Bills and this game goes Over 52 which is available at -110 over at Caesars Sportsbook.
NFL Pick: Over 52 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium
Rams Look to Re-Establish at the NFC West
Both the Rams and the Cardinals were embarrassed in Week 1. Los Angeles was coming off a Super Bowl victory and taking on a team many believe will be the Super Bowl champion this season. The Bills thoroughly whipped the Rams at home in a prime-time game.
They bounced back last week as champions do although it has to be said that win was anything but straightforward. Jalen Ramsey came up with a game-saving interception which he needed a week after getting torched by Stefon Diggs.
While the win was good, head coach Sean McVay has to be concerned about his team’s play. Early in the third quarter, the Rams had a 28-3 lead before being outscored 24-3 in less than two quarters. Now there was an element of luck to the Falcons’ comeback but the point here is for the second week in a row, Los Angeles looked vulnerable.
This week they come into this divisional matchup at -3.5 favorites which is where the line opened at the NFL odds. The total for this game is 48.5 and a half, down from where it opened which was 50.
Pick and Prediction
These matchups have been fascinating over the years but I’m giving the edge here to the Rams for a few reasons.
First of all, they still haven’t played a complete game and if they are ever going to do that, a game against a division rival is the perfect place. I also think that McVay is a much better head coach than Kliff Kingsbury who I’ve never been completely sold on.
Whenever these two teams meet there are always fireworks with three of the last four games going over 52 points combined. I’m taking the Over 48.5 in what I think will be another shootout.
NFL Pick: Over 48.5 (-110) at DraftKings