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Steelers -7.5 (-110)
|Broncos vs Steelers Information|
|What||Denver Broncos vs Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Where||Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA|
|When||Sunday, September 20, 2020; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
The Denver Broncos could not get the job done in Week 1 against the Titans on Monday Night Football, and they got banged up as a result, so it will be a tough matchup against these Steelers who look mostly healthy and ready to dominate.
On that same Week 1 Monday evening, the Steelers easily took care of the Giants, and QB Ben Roethlisberger showed off a healthy elbow and after shaking off some rust proceeded to get back to exactly where he left off pre-injury – tossing dimes for three TDs.
The Broncos and Steelers have played each other a total of 32 times (including 8 postseason games), with Pittsburgh winning 11 of those games and Denver winning 20, plus there has been one tie.
Take a look at the Denver Broncos injury report and it isn’t pretty – with five players listed as questionable for Week 2, the key ones being offensive playmakers, the idea of facing a brutal Steelers’ defense has to be weighing on offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s mind.
Listed as questionable for Week 2 are wide receivers Courtland Sutton (shoulder – AC joint) and rookie K.J. Hamler (hamstring) as well as starting running back Phillip Lindsay (toe), all key players and targets that young Broncos QB Drew Lock likes to utilize.
All NFL teams deal with an injury, so the Broncos will make do, but against a Steelers squad that includes hungry linebackers TJ Watt and Devin Bush Jr. plus talented safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, being less than healthy seems like a dangerous proposition.
Sure, Ben Roethlisberger looked a bit rusty at first during the Week 1 debut of his healthy elbow, but the guy hadn’t stepped onto an NFL field in a year, so a little bit of awkwardness was certainly expected.
But that didn’t last long before Big Ben showed up, the future Hall of Fame QB that Steelers fans have come to love and receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster have come to depend on for accuracy and the nerve to throw into narrow lanes.
Look out, AFC North, because the Steelers are for real with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, and it will be fun to watch him pick apart a Broncos defense that, due to multiple injuries, has been made less than effective for now.
With receivers Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler both listed as questionable for Week 2, the pressure for stepping up and becoming Broncos QB Drew Lock’s key target goes directly on rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy.
In his NFL debut in Week 1 against the Titans, Jeudy posted 4 receptions for 56 yards, averaging 14 yards per catch and solidifying himself as a dependable go to target for his second-year quarterback, Drew Lock.
Jeudy will be covered by Steelers’ cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steven Nelson while he will have to also evade eternally pesky safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, so Week 2 will be a true test of the NFL rookie’s mettle and ability to play at the next level.
As important as Big Ben is to the Steelers’ offense, their running game is just as critical since it forces opposing defenses to consider more than just Roethlisberger’s arm when developing their game plan.
Running back James Conner is critical to Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, which makes the fact that he is listed as questionable for Week 2 with an ankle sprain suffered in the first half of his Week 1 debut an important consideration for how they’ll approach the Broncos.
Filling in nicely for Conner against Denver was backup Benny Snell Jr., who carried the ball 19 times for 113 yards on the ground, averaging 5.9 yards per carrying, which of course will do nicely in the event Conner can’t start in Week 2.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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