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NFL Expert Picks: Experts are seeing the Ravens as the only AFC North winner in Week 7

The Pittsburgh Steelers are on their bye week, so we take a look at the expert picks for the rest of the AFC North

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

With the Pittsburgh Steelers on a bye week, the attention of the fan base naturally goes to the rest of the AFC North division. The three other teams all play in Week 7, and one of them plays on Thursday Night Football while the other two play one another on Sunday.

It should make for a fun weekend of divisional football, but it is time to check on who the experts like in these divisional games. After all, the outcomes of these games will have a direct impact on the Steelers in many ways.

Let’s start with the Thursday night game.

Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos

Odds, via DraftKings Sportsbook: CLE -1 / OVER/UNDER: 40.5

Being banged up is a massive understatement for the Browns, and they will be without their quarterback on Thursday night. Does this sway the views of the experts? The sites who just pick the games, without any explanation, are split on this game. According to NFL Pick Watch, a website devoted to expert picks, only 58% of the experts like the Browns to hold serve at home vs. Denver.

As for the experts who give an explanation behind their picks, here is what some had to say:

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco)

The Browns are so banged up as they head into this game on a short week, which makes it tough to pick this one. They could be without quarterback Baker Mayfield, although it looks like he is leaning toward playing. They are also down a bunch of other players. The Broncos haven’t played as well as expected on defense, but I think in prime time they show up here. It’s close, with Denver pulling off a small upset.

Pick: Broncos 24, Browns 23

The Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer)

The Browns have become an injury mess, from quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver to defense. After being forced to deviate from their rushing offense and complementary pass defense ways, they can get back on track vs. a Denver D that’s starting to struggle in many areas under Vic Fangio. The Broncos will hang around with more steady play by Teddy Bridgewater, but in the end backup Case Keenum, a former Broncos starter, delivers a much-needed gritty win to push Cleveland back above .500 at home.

Pick: Browns win 23-20

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Odds, via DraftKings Sportsbook: BAL -6.5 / OVER/UNDER: 46.5

The Ravens are flying high at 5-1, but the biggest shock to the division has been the play of the Cincinnati Bengals. No one saw them being 4-2 after six games, but this game went from a dud to a gem in the matter of just a few weeks. Can the Bengals claim first place in the division with a road win at M&T Bank Stadium, or will the Ravens continue to keep the pedal to the metal and steamroll Joe Burrow and company? According to sites who just pick winners, they are predominantly pro-Ravens. In fact, NFL Pick Watch states a whopping 91% of experts like the Ravens to win at home.

As for the experts who give an explanation behind their picks, here is what some had to say:

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco)

This is the game of the week, a game for first place in the AFC North. It’s a huge proving game for the Bengals. I expect the Bengals offense to move the ball with Joe Burrow, so it will come down to whether they can slow Lamar Jackson. I don’t think they can. The Ravens win it, but it’s close.

Pick: Ravens 31, Bengals 28

The Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer)

The Bengals’ offense is clicking everywhere around Joe Burrow. The Ravens also can move the ball in more ways with Lamar Jackson. Last week, there was no worthy Jackson duel against the Chargers, but that comes vs. another second-year first-round QB counterpart. The Bengals won’t mind throwing often on Baltimore’s D and Cincinnati cannot slow down the Ravens’ best downfield targets. This game comes down to a key drive in the fourth quarter with Jackson coming through at home.

Pick: Ravens win 27-23

Who do you think will win the divisional games this weekend? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they get some much needed rest and relaxation during the bye week.