Welcome back and all that. Each week, I’ll post a quick writeup of pending AFC North games, with a few notable points and, yes, timely, knowledgeable predictions regarding the games’ outcomes.
As usual, these picks are for fun and should in no way be used for actual wagering purposes. That is, unless you want to make a ton of money in a legal forum, because we know more stuff and things about football than you do or something.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 11, 1:00 pm, FOX
The Tumble of the Turnpike? Revenge of the Steagles? Regardless of the moniker, this doesn’t figure to be much of a game. Despite a brief surge of competence last week, this Eagles team appears to be a likely slog to roughly six wins, with head coach Doug Pederson becoming increasingly more defensive and QB Carson Wentz struggling to read defenses of all stripes.
The Steelers, recipients of an unexpected week off, should be fresh, rested and ready to dominate the hapless Eagles. Look for pretty much everything the Steelers offense has to offer at some point, including backup quarterbacks – given the ineptitude of the Philadelphia defense, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger should be able to take a seat by the fourth quarter for preservation purposes.
Uncle Drew 217: Eagles 19, Steelers 17
Me: Eagles 10, Steelers 30
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, October 11, 1:00 pm, CBS
The Bengals are steadily improving, having garnered their first win of the season last week against the lowly Jaguars, largely on the legs of RB Joe Mixon. The Bengals’ primary focus this week will be keeping the ball away from Baltimore multi-threat QB Lamar Jackson, which they should be able to do if they can establish the run early. However…
The Bengals’ defense is not playing particularly well, nor does it currently have the personnel to be relied upon for any consistency. The Bengals will score a few points early, but the Ravens’ defense won’t allow much after that. Look for a solid mix of running and passing in the Ravens’ offensive game plan, which should be enough to keep the young Bengals in check.
Uncle Drew 217: Bengals 31, Ravens 28
Me: Bengals 17, Ravens 31
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns
Sunday, October 11, 4:25 pm, CBS
The Colts sport a few notable things – an aging, mobility-challenged QB in long-time Charger Phillip Rivers; a boring, unspectacular, but very effective defensive approach; and excellent coaching, especially from head man Frank Reich. All of those things need to work in perfect coordination for the Colts to have sustained success. Even with limited fans in the stands, road games will pose a challenge for this team.
Like this one. The Browns have been playing very well offensively during their three-game winning streak; expect that to continue, with a majority of the running game channeled through presumed starter Kareem Hunt and his suddenly-worthwhile backups to try to dent the Colts’ top-ranked defense. While the Browns’ defense hasn’t been optimal this season, they should be able to handle the Colts’ offense with little difficulty, so the crux of the game rests with the Browns’ ability to score. Should be fun one, but I see the Browns squeaking by at home.
Uncle Drew 217: Colts 10, Browns 45
Me: Colts 21, Browns 24
See y’all there.