Steelers vs. Broncos Spread Jumps to -8.5 in Favor of Pittsburgh

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Steelers vs. Broncos Spread Jumps to -8.5 in Favor of Pittsburgh

The game we’re all dying to see this Sunday – The Steelers vs. Broncos spread has moved from -7.5 to -8.5 and it’s not Denver that is favored.  Ryan Clark, who leads Pittsburgh for tackles, will be sitting this one out due to a sickle cell trait that can cause severe complications at high altitudes.  Bet this game at and receive up to $250 in FREE CASH HERE.  Mention Me, Carrie Stroup, when joining. Line & Total: Pittsburgh -8.5 & 33.5

Opening Line & Total: Steelers -7.5 & 35

The Broncos try to stop a three-game slide, but it won’t be easy when a red-hot Steelers team, 10-2 in its past dozen games, visits Denver on Sunday.

The NFL has caught up to Tim Tebow. Against the Bills and Chiefs the past two weeks, Tebow completed 37.3% of his passes for 245 yards, rushed for 50, and turned it over six times while leading the Broncos to just 17 points. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau figures to have no problem limiting Denver’s offense. But the Steelers have a rash of injuries that will limit them. QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) is less than 100%, and the Pittsburgh offense has managed just 30 points in his three starts since he got hurt. And now RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and FS Ryan Clark (high altitude condition) are both out. Denver’s defense is usually tough at home, limiting three of its past four visitors to 13, 10 and 7 points, and the Steelers are just 2-6 ATS on the road this year.

The Steelers have been a great bet in the playoffs, going 10-3 (9-4 ATS) in 13 postseason games with Roethlisberger. His ankle has gotten better, but it has clearly affected his play over the past two weeks. Granted, Roethlisberger faced two great pass defenses with San Francisco and Cleveland, but he completed just 48-of-84 passes (57%) for 551 yards (6.56 YPA), 0 TD and 3 INT in these two contests. That drops his passer rating to a subpar 77.5 on the road this year (7 TD, 10 INT). However, the thin air has always suited Roethlisberger well. In three career games in Denver, which includes a 34-17 playoff win in 2006, he has completed 66-of-93 passes (71%) for 798 yards (8.58 YPA), 9 TD and 3 INT.

Mendenhall, who rushed for 155 yards (7.0 YPC) in his last trip to Denver in 2009, will certainly be missed in the running game. Second-year man Isaac Redman will start in Mendenhall’s place and try to build on a strong 92-yard performance at Cleveland last week. For the season, Redman has 479 rushing yards on a healthy 4.4 YPC, and Denver’s defense allows 126 rushing YPG, including 147 YPG in the past six contests.

Denver is making its first playoff appearance since losing at home to Pittsburgh nearly six years ago. The Broncos have really hurt themselves with turnovers, posting a minus-8 TO margin during the three-game skid. But they still have the league’s top rushing offense at 165 YPG, and have gained 601 yards on 5.3 YPC in the past three contests. RB Willis McGahee showed that he is fully healed from his hamstring injury, rushing 28 times for 145 yards versus the Chiefs last week. However, McGahee has faced Pittsburgh’s defense eight times in his career, and hasn’t fared too well, rushing for 270 yards on 3.5 YPC and 5 TD. The Steelers rank eighth in the NFL in rushing defense (100 YPG), and have held nine of their past 10 opponents under 110 yards. The loss of Clark and the potential absence of LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) will benefit Denver, but Tebow doesn’t figure to attempt many passes against the Steelers who lead the NFL with 172 passing YPG allowed.

- Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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