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DraftKings has the Ravens at -340 to win the AFC North
Lamar Jackson completed just 58% of his passes over his last three games
TJ Watt is tied for the league lead in sacks with 13.5
The AFC North has become much less competitive thanks to a slew of injuries. We have seen stars like Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, Nick Chubb, and Mark Andrews all picking up season-ending injuries. Each team has been affected, with the exception of the surprising Steelers.
Below, we will share our pick to win the division and provide the latest insights into all four teams to help boost your NFL betting strategy.
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We believe the only truly good team in this division is the Ravens. They rank in the top ten in the league in yards gained (366.1 YDS/G), scoring (27.0 PTS/G), yards allowed (273.9 YDS/G), and opponent scoring (15.6 PTS/G). No one else in this division can match that level, especially with the Browns losing Deshaun Watson for the season. We don’t trust the Steelers, making betting on the Ravens to win the AFC North an easy decision.
The Ravens added to their division lead over the last two weeks with easy matchups against the Bengals and Chargers. While their schedule has not been strong in 2023, the Ravens have done everything we expect from the league’s best teams. The team was not at their best against the Chargers, but their defense saved the day by forcing four turnovers and surrendering just 279 yards. While the Steelers sit just behind them in the AFC North, the Ravens' balance makes them an easy bet to win the division.
We aren’t worried about Lamar Jackson, but his recent play has raised some alarms. He has completed just 58% of his passes over his last three games, throwing four touchdowns and two interceptions. The stats are bad, but they are even worse when you consider two games against the bad defenses of the Bengals and Chargers. The tight end Mark Andrew's loss will make things even harder for Jackson. We aren’t giving up on the quarterback, but we will be monitoring his play closely before betting on them to win the AFC Championship.
The Ravens will be on a Week 13 bye before hosting Matthew Stafford and the Rams.
While their record is impressive, we don’t think the Steelers are very good. They barely edged out a Bengals team missing Joe Burrow in Week 12 and lost to Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Browns the week before. The good news for Pittsburgh fans is that the offense had one of their better games of the season against Cincinnati. It didn’t end with many points, but they saw some impressive performances from Kenny Pickett, Najee Harris, and Pat Freiermuth. This offense is still one of the least intimidating in the league, but the win provides hope that they will improve for the season's final stretch.
The biggest reason for the Steelers’ surprising record is the play of their defense. They weren’t good at the beginning of the season but have settled in nicely. The unit is led by another incredible campaign from TJ Watt, a top candidate to win his second Defensive Player of the Year Award. He is tied with Danielle Hunter for the most sacks in the league (13.5), posting 12 TFLs, six PDs, one INT, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and a touchdown. As long as Watt is healthy, the Steelers should have a chance to make a surprising playoff berth.
The Steelers will have a great chance to add to their win total over the next two weeks with games against the Cardinals and Pats.
The Browns have overcome a lot this season, but it appears their luck has finally run out. While their defense remains elite, they will be without quarterback Deshaun Watson. They overcame the loss with an ugly win against the Steelers, but their offense cost them against the Broncos in Week 12. They turned the ball over three times and took a safety, resulting in 12 points for Denver. The defense was great again, but they were constantly put on their heels, a theme that will likely continue.
The good news for the Browns is that rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is playing a little better. The bad news is that he may now miss time with a concussion. If he missed time, the Browns said Joe Flacco would start over PJ Walker. Those are all bad options, and now the offense may also be without top-wideout Amari Cooper. The offense will continue to implode, further wearing their elite defense down and leading to a lot of losses.
The Browns will try to steal a win in Week 13 against the Rams before taking on a very good Jags team.
The Bengals season is essentially over. They lost Joe Burrow for the season and have not dropped three straight games. They had a chance to steal a win against the Steelers in Week 12 but failed to generate more than ten points. The good news is that quarterback Jake Browning looked good, completing 73% of his passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are impressive, especially considering the Bengals ran the ball just 11 times for 25 yards.
The 27-year-old quarterback isn’t going to be a starter in this league, but he could be good enough to steal a few more wins for Cincinnati. He has the advantage of an excellent receiving corps, but his success will likely be overshadowed by the horrendous play of the Bengals’ defense. They have four winnable games left on the schedule, so we’ll see if Browning can lead them to finish with a record above .500.
Cincinnati will travel to take on the AFC South to take on the Jags in Week 13 before taking on a surprising Colts team.
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Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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