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Steelers-Broncos Line at Denver -9: Roethlisberger Questionable, Brown Out

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Jan/14/2016
Steelers-Broncos Line at Denver -7: Roethlisberger, Brown Questionable

Carrie Stroup here with your Steelers-Broncos betting line where Denver is a -9 home favorite.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-6) at DENVER BRONCOS (12-4)

The Broncos host the Steelers on Sunday and a spot in the AFC Championship Game will be on the line.

The Steelers are coming off of an 18-16 victory over the Bengals in Cincinnati in the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh drove down the field and won on a field goal by Chris Boswell that would have been a lot further away had it not been for a few boneheaded penalties by the Bengals. The Steelers have now won two straight games and they are allowing just 14.0 PPG in those contests.

The Broncos have not played since defeating the Chargers 27-20 as 10-point favorites at home in Week 17. Denver won each of its final two regular season games, but the team did not cover in either.

The Broncos and Steelers met in Week 15 and Pittsburgh came out on top in that one. The Steelers won 34-27 as seven-point home favorites in that game and it was the only meeting between these teams in the past three seasons. However, Denver is 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS when facing Pittsburgh in Denver since 1992.

There are a few trends in this game that bettors will want to be aware of. The Broncos are just 0-6 ATS in home games after gaining six or more yards per play in two straight games over the past three seasons. It isn’t all bad for Denver, though, as the team is 7-0 ATS after failing to cover the spread in three of its past four games over the past three seasons.

RB DeAngelo Williams (Ankle) is questionable for the Steelers and both QB Ben Roethlisberger (Shoulder) and WR Antonio Brown (Concussion) are listed as questionable, but are expected to suit up in this game. For Denver, LB Demarcus Ware (Knee) is listed as questionable, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t play in this one.

The Steelers were able to escape Cincinnati with a victory, but the team suffered a number of injuries in the process. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown got hurt and it would be a major blow to Pittsburgh if those guys weren’t playing at the level they are capable of.

Roethlisberger will almost certainly have some trouble in this one, as he could barely throw the ball down field when he came back in against the Bengals. The Steelers will have to simplify the playbook and work in a lot of screen passes and short timing routes to allow Roethlisberger to take it a bit easy in this one. Antonio Brown, meanwhile, should be able to play like his normal self as long as he is cleared for this game.

Brown had 16 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns the last time these teams played and will certainly be all over the field in this one.

Defensively, Pittsburgh will need to step it up with Roethlisberger injured. The Steelers cannot expect as many points as usual and will need to prevent the Denver offense from exploding on Sunday.

The Broncos finished the season with two wins and Peyton Manning is back under center for Denver. Manning entered the game after Brock Osweiler struggled against the Chargers and the veteran quarterback completed 55.6% of his passes for 69 yards in relief of him. Manning read the defense well and showed enough to prove to Gary Kubiak that he should be starting in this game.

One thing Manning will need to do is avoid turning the ball over. Manning threw for just nine touchdowns this season and had a miserable 17 interceptions. He cannot afford to put the ball in the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, no matter how healthy the Steelers quarterback may or may not be.

Another thing Manning will need to do is target Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders lit up the Steelers the last time these teams met, hauling in 10 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 24 yards in that game. The Broncos will need to get him involved in this one.

The running game will also need to be strong on Sunday. Ronnie Hillman and C.J Anderson combined for just 62 yards on 18 carries the last time these teams met and they will need to be a lot better with Peyton Manning playing quarterback.

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