After getting off to a 3-0 start against three of the worst teams in the NFL, the Denver Broncos got slapped back to reality last week. While the score was not a blowout, the Baltimore Ravens were never in danger of losing. However, while they ultimately lost the game and starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, they learned something. While they may not be a contender yet, they are not a bad team at all.
Losing Bridgewater to a concussion at the end of the first half stung. However, the defense proved it was up to the challenge against one of the better offensive teams in the NFL. While they gave up 300+ in the passing game, they held the Ravens run game to 102 yards. A similar defensive effort could be enough against a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers team in Week Five of the NFL season.
But with Drew Lock at the helm of the offense, whether Denver can score enough to win the game remains to be seen.
|Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, 10/10 @ 1:00 PM ET||Best Broncos Odds||Best Steelers Odds|
|FanDuel||+1.5 (-106)||Spread||-1.0 (-110)||BetMGM|
|BetMGM||Over 39.5 (-110)||Total||Under 40.0 (-110)||FanDuel|
Last week was a ‘prove-it’ week for the Broncos as they faced a team with a win for the first time this season. The outcome did not work out in Denver’s favor. But the Broncos still proved their defense is a force to be reckoned with. The Ravens still gained over 400 yards of offense on the day. However, they only scored 23 points and needed a five-yard run at the end of the game to keep their 100+ yard rushing streak alive.
The offense was disappointing whether Teddy Bridgewater was behind center or Drew Lock. But against the Steelers this week, a solid performance from the defense may be all the Broncos need to win.
Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled to move the ball this season and averages just 301.8 yards of total offense a game. The rebuilt, young offensive line has struggled, and the run-game is almost non-existent (55.3 yards/game). With how well the Denver defense has played this season (fourth in total yards allowed/game at 267.6; second in points allowed with 12.3 points/game allowed).
However, the Broncos offense could be in trouble if Teddy Bridgewater cannot play (which is unlikely since he left the game with a concussion last week). Drew Lock struggled to get the offense moving against the Ravens last week. Denver had just 40 yards of offense in the second half before gaining 70 on their final drive.
The Steelers came into this season looking to prove that the end of season collapse last year was not who they are. But, so far, four games into the season, things are not looking too promising for Pittsburgh. With their young, rebuilt offensive line struggling to open lanes, the run game is the worst in the NFL, which tells opposing defenses they need to focus on stopping the passing game.
Usually, stopping the Steeler passing game is easier said than done. But Ben Roethlisberger has had a hard time getting the passing attack on track. He only has one 300+ yard game this season and needed to throw 58 passes against the Bengals to get it (and still lost, 24-10). He has only had four touchdowns this season to go with four interceptions.
Against the Denver defense, Roethlisberger is not going to find it any easier to get the offense on track. It does not help that he is dealing with a pectoral and hip injury. They will only make him less mobile than he already is. In an offense where quarterback mobility matters, that could be a factor.
But if the defense can show up, it may not matter how well the offense plays. However, while it was one of the best units in the league last year, it’s just average this year. The Steelers defense ranks 16th in total yards allowed (357.8; 19th against the pass and 11th against the run). But they are doing a decent job keeping teams out of the endzone (13th in scoring with 23.3 points/game allowed).
However, with the Broncos likely starting Drew Lock this week, the Steelers defense may catch a break.
With both teams having issues at quarterback, it is not hard to figure out the safest bet for this game. Take the under on the total. The outlook for Denver’s offense is not good with Drew Lock probably starting. As much as the Steelers offense has struggled this season, it is unlikely it shows out against the top-ranked Broncos defense.
As for who will win—that’s a tricky question to answer, especially since both teams have some uncertainty at quarterback. But the Denver defense makes the Broncos look like a better bet no matter who starts at quarterback for the Steelers. But if Big Ben goes and Teddy Bridgewater does not, the Steelers may not be a bad bet.