The Denver Broncos travel to Heinz Field to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. Both teams are looking to get back to the playoffs after missing it in 2019. Both played on Monday, so they will have short weeks and no team has the advantage of extra rest on Sunday.
Pittsburgh is coming off a 26-16 road win over the New York Giants on Monday night, while the Broncos fell at home to Tennesee 16-14.
The Steelers will play their first home game of the 2020 season and it will be interesting to how the squad reacts with no fans. Pittsburgh has always had one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. You can say the same thing about the Broncos and Empower Field at Mile High Stadium.
The Steelers have gone from -5.5 up to -7 while garnering 59% of the Bets.
The OU Line has gone from 43 down to 40.5, despite the Under getting just 51% of the bets.
Gametime Weather: Sunny with temps in the lower 60s.
Broncos lose another late leadThe Denver Broncos came into Monday night's game against Tennessee without top wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) and All-Pro OLB Von Miller (ankle). Yet, they came back from a 13-7 deficit to lead the Titans 14-13, before Stephen Gostkowski knocked in a 25-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to give Tennesee the win. That came after Gostkowski had missed four kicks in his debut with the Titans. The Broncos' defense allowed the Titans to drive 83 yards in 12 plays for the victory.
All eyes were on the offense and young quarterback Drew Lock, who played well. He completed 22 of 33 for 216 yards with one TD and no pick. That's solid considering he had no Sutton (72 catches for 1,112 yards) and no speedy rookie K.J. Hamler (hamstring). Both are considered questionable early this week along with running back Phillip Lindsay (toe), who was injured on Monday. Fortunately, they do have veteran Melvin Gordon III, who rushed for 78 yards and a score against the Titans. Tight end Noah Fant was the leading receiver with five catches for 81 yards and a TD. Rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy added four receptions for 56 yards.
Defensively, the Broncos allowed 247 passing yards and 130 rushing yards. Obviously the four missed field goals helped, but the fact that they allowed just two touchdowns without Miller on the field is a positive step. They also "held" Derrick Henry to 116 yards on 31 carries with a long of 13. They had just one sack, though the good news is that DE Bradley Chubb (torn ACL last year). played 73% of the snaps, even though he didn't have a sack or a tackle.
Denver’s Injury Report
Questionable: WR KJ Hamler and WR Courtland Sutton
Out: RB Phillip Lindsay, DB A.J. Bouye, LB Von Miller, TE Troy Fumagalli, and LB Justin Strnad
Left The Team: OT Ja'Wuan James
Big Ben is backThe Steelers should be a more balanced team this season, though their defense is still their strength. Last season, they went 8-8 because Ben Roethlisberger missed 14 games after elbow surgery. His replacements were Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges were subpar and the running game couldn't overcome the loss. James Conner did return, after a disappointing 464 yards last season (4.0ypc). Part of that ineffectiveness was due to not having "Big Ben" and defenses stacking the box. However, Conner suffered an ankle injury against the Giants on Monday night after rushing for just nine yards on six carries. Benny Snell Jr. took over with 113 yards on 19 carries and the Steelers may have found their next prime back.
Having Roethlisberger back certainly helped. He went 21 of 32 for 229 yards with three touchdown passes. He hit James Washington with seven seconds left in the half, as Washington made a nice stretch for the end zone and a 13-year score. He also hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 10-yard second-quarter score and a 10-yard fourth-quarter score to put the game away 26-10. They had a decent balance of 141 rushing yards on 30 carries and 208 passing yards with no picks.
The Steelers won the always-important turnover battle on Monday, with two picks on quarterback Daniel Jones and one fumble lost. The defense did bend some, yielding 262 passing yards and just 29 rushing yards. The bottom line is that they stopped the run, holding star Saquon Barkley to just 6 yards rushing on 15 carries. They had three sacks but pressured Jones all night.
Pittsburgh’s Injury Report
Questionable: DE Stephon Tuitt, OG David DeCastro, RB James Conner, and OG Stefen Wisniewski
Out: OT Zach Banner
- 4-9-1 ATS last 14 as a favorite.
- 2-5 Ats last 7 as a home favorite.
- 4-1 ATS last 5 in Week 2.
- 6-2 ATS last 8 as an underdog.
- 4-0 ATS last 4 after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Pittsburgh looked pretty good on Monday night, but they gave up a lot of yards against a young quarterback. Denver should have at least one of those receivers back and Melvin Gordon is fine as a starting running back, if Lindsay can't go. The issue for Pittsburgh right now is an offensive line with three starters banged up. Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro (knee) is questionable and RT Zach Banner is out indefinitely with a knee injury. DeCastro's replacement Stefan Wisniewski started in place of DeCastro and he suffered a pec injury. So, I'm concerned about Roethlisberger staying upright this season and he is a 38-year old quarterback who does not move nearly as well as he used to be. The Broncos protected Lock pretty well in the last game and will make sure he gets rid of the ball quickly against "Blitzburgh". Take the points.
Prediction: Denver +7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Even though I'm taking the points, I'm not going to dismiss the Pittsburgh defense. Even though they weren't sharp as normal against the Giants on Monday, they are still capable of causing havoc against young quarterbacks. Last season, they led the league in sacks with 54, takeaways with 38 and fumble recoveries with 18. Denver looked pretty good defensively on Monday against Tennesee, especially against the run and Derrick Henry. Under Vic Fangio, they are still going to be about defense-first. They ranked 12th overall last season and gave up just 19.8 points per game (10th). The Broncos are 21-6-1 Under against the AFC. Pittsburgh is 19-7 Under their last 26 overall.
Prediction: Under 41.5