Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night with the Cleveland Browns (1-1, 0-1 home) battling the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, 1-0 away) in an AFC North showdown. Pittsburgh owns a 79-61-1 record against the Browns all-time, including a pair of tight contests played last season.
Thursday night’s kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. EST inside FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns are a 4.5-point home favorite, and the over/under is 38.5 points.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers suffered a hard-fought loss last week in a 17-14 defeat to the New England Patriots at home after knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals in a wild 23-20 affair in overtime during Week 1. Pittsburgh plays Cleveland and the New York Jets before a daunting month of October with games against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Philadelphia.
Through the first two games, the Steelers have gotten from starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky what they have expected. Trubisky won’t light up the box score, but the former Chicago Bear starter has a pair of touchdown throws and is completing 59.2% of his passes.
Pittsburgh needs to find a way to get running back Najee Harris going. The talented second-year ball carrier out of Alabama has carried the ball 25 times for only 72 yards and is still searching for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
On the outside, Dionte Johnson has been Trubisky’s favorite target through the first two games. Johnson has caught 13 of 22 targets for 112 yards. Tight end Pat Freiermuth has emerged as another target, hauling in nine receptions for 97 yards and a score.
What to Know – Cleveland Browns
Cleveland hopes to put Week 2 behind them after blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter to hand the New York Jets a victory. The Browns could easily be 2-0 and atop the AFC North but share the same record at Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett has done everything asked of him as he fills in as a spot starter until Deshaun Watson returns from his suspension. Brissett is completing 65.6% of his passes and using his legs when he has to.
Nick Chubb has already racked up 228 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Chubb is averaging an eye-popping 5.8 yards per touch. Backup Kareem Hunt has added 104 yards and a score in the run game.
Wide receivers Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones have received the lion’s share of the targets in the passing game. Cooper has caught 12 passes on 16 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown, while Peoples-Jones has been targeted 12 times, catching six passes for 60 yards.
The Pick is In
A blue-collar battle between two teams in the heart of the Rust Belt is on tap for fans Thursday night. Vegas predicts this one to be a low-scoring slugfest. Pittsburgh has the playmakers on offense to keep this one close, and Harris gets things going, and the Steelers keep it close.
The Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5