Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
This division clash could have huge ramifications at the end of the season. The Bengals have exceeded expectations this year and are in the mix for a playoff spot. The Steelers have fallen short of expectations. A good deal of the letdown has come on the shoulders of Ben Roethlisberger.
The Bengals have a better offense and a defense that is good against the run and the pass. Joe Burrow has been a little careless with the ball, but that could be a result of him having full control of the offense this season. His chemistry with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins has resulted in the Bengals offense being lethal for opposing defenses to stop. Defensively, this team is stout defense against the run and getting interceptions in the pass game.
The Steelers haven’t looked themselves this year. Roethlisberger looks worse than ever and the offense is stuck in quicksand. The pass game hasn’t looked right in year since Big Ben can’t drive the ball down field. Defensively, losing Joe Haden hampers this defense and it is starting to show in the win column.
The Bengals are the better team, but Pittsburgh always plays them tough. However, the Bengals know they can make the playoffs if they can get win in their division. Expect the Bengals to come out fast and aggressive in this game.
Prediction: Cincinnati wins by more than a touchdown.
The Line: Steelers (+155) | Bengals (-180)
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Both of these teams come into this contest looking to secure a win. The Chargers look to stay in the playoff race and so does the Broncos.
The Chargers are playing good football and are led by their star quarterback, Justin Herbert. Herbert is playing really well this season and is taking care of the football. Herbert will help this team score points versus a great Broncos defense.
The Chargers defense is horrible against the run and that’s where they could find trouble with Denver’s great run game. They pound the ball and will definitely do that against the Chargers.
Denver’s offense is great at rushing the ball, but the passing game is average to say the least. Teddy Bridgewater is a “Checkdown Charlie” and doesn’t strike fear into opposing defenses. Look for the Chargers to focus heavily on the run in this contest.
The Chargers are playing better football at the moment, but this game will still be close. IF it comes down to quarterback play, the Chargers have a distinct advantage. I’d take the Chargers in this game.
Prediction: Los Angeles wins by more than a field goal.
The Line: Chargers (-160) | Broncos (+140)
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
This will be the most important game on the Sunday slate of games. Cleveland needs this game to stay close in the division and to remain competitive in the playoff picture.
Baltimore is the team that is favored in this game. With a lethal weapon like Lamar Jackson at quarterback, Cleveland has their hands full defensively. Jackson can do it with his arm, but more so with his legs to keep defenses honest.
Defensively, they haven’t been as stout as they have been in recent years, but they play well in big games. Look for Baltimore to blitz the Browns and force them into passing situations.
Cleveland will look to establish the run and force Baltimore to stuff the box. Once they do that, Cleveland will look to Mayfield to make smart, accurate decisions with the ball to help them get the win.
Defensively, the Browns are playing inspired football behind Myles Garrett. Garrett will look to disrupt Baltimore’s offense in this contest.
Both of these teams are well-coached, but only one team can win this game. Cleveland needs this game more so I’ll lean to them to pull off the upset over the Baltimore Ravens.
Prediction: Cleveland wins by a touchdown.
The Line: Browns (+145) | Ravens (-170)
WORDS: Derek Lopez.
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