The Denver Broncos will try to build off the momentum from last week’s win when they play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12. The fun gets started at 4:25 EST on Sunday, November 25, at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver. A majority of the country will be able to watch the game on CBS.
Oddsmakers list the Steelers as 3.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 47 points. Click here to see a full list of this week’s NFL betting odds and game previews.
At the moment, the Broncos are barely hanging around the playoff picture in the AFC. The last month for Denver has been filled with close losses against division leaders. However, coming out of their bye last week, the Broncos finally managed to win a close game, beating the Chargers on the road 23-22. That win moved Denver to 4-6, giving them a glimmer of hope. Of course, they remain a game behind the five teams that are tied for the last playoff spot in the AFC at 5-5.
On the bright side, Denver’s schedule leaves the door slightly ajar. The Broncos have winnable games left against the 49ers, Browns, and Raiders. Also, Denver’s only games against winning teams are at home, including a Week 17 rematch against the Chargers. However, the Broncos almost have to win out in order to have any hope of getting to the playoffs.
The Steelers, on the other hand, are a little more relaxed on the heels of a six-game winning streak. Pittsburgh had to work a little harder than usual last week, as they had to erase a 16-0 deficit against the Jaguars. But the Steelers got the win to move to 7-2-1, giving them a comfortable cushion over the Bengals and Ravens and the inside track on winning the AFC North.
Of course, closing out the division may not be so easy. After this week’s trip to Denver, the Steelers still have to play the Chargers, Patriots, and Saints before finishing the season with the Bengals. Despite dominating most of their opponents during their six-game winning streak, there aren’t many easy games left on Pittsburgh’s schedule, starting with Sunday’s game against a desperate Broncos team.
The Broncos have lost more games than they’ve won this year, but as mentioned, they’ve made good teams work. At home, knowing they need to keep winning, I like the Broncos to put up a fight against the Steelers. With the betting line greater than a field goal, I like Denver’s chances of beating the spread and maybe pulling off an upset.
Obviously, Pittsburgh’s offense has gotten a lot of credit this season, and for good reason. The Steelers are averaging close to 30 points per game on the season. However, on the road, that number is closer to 24 points. Last week’s game against Jacksonville was a good example of things being different on the road. The Steelers were shut out for nearly three quarters by a solid defense, showing that they can be contained.
This may not be the same defense that won a Super Bowl a few years back, but the Denver defense will pose a challenge for the Steelers. The Broncos have done a nice job of bending but not breaking this season. They’ve played the Chiefs twice and the Rams once, so they’ve faced elite offensive teams. The Broncos have also held those teams well below their season average.
Denver’s numbers against the run this year aren’t that impressive. But they’ve been much better in that area over the past month. It’s also worth noting that James Conner was held to just 25 yards on nine carries this week. If the Broncos can slow down Pittsburgh’s running game, they will be able to unleash Von Miller and Bradley Chubb against Ben Roethlisberger, who’s not as mobile as he used to be. Roethlisberger and the Steelers have also been turnover-prone this year. The Broncos are also one of the best in the league at creating takeaways, which could give them an edge in this game.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos remain one of the best running teams in the NFL. Rookie Phillip Lindsay is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Broncos will be happy to run the ball until the Steelers prove they can stop it. To be fair, Case Keenum has been unreliable for most of the season. If the Broncos are in a position where they have to throw the ball, they’ll be in trouble. But Keenum is a capable game manager if the Broncos can establish a steady rushing attack.
Admittedly, there is some risk in betting against the Steelers, who have looked unstoppable at times during their six-game winning streak. But winning on the road is hard, especially in Denver against a team that’s desperate for a win. With the Broncos proving that they can go toe-to-toe with good teams, I’ll take a chance on Denver at least being able to beat the spread.