Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. DEN

Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. DEN


Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. DEN


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Prediction: PIT 13, DEN 23 (Line: DEN by 6.5)

UPDATE: Both Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams remain out this week and that has a tremendous impact. Ben Roethlisberger was limited this week but turned in a full day on Friday and will play despite the torn ligaments in his shoulder. By all accounts he is throwing the ball almost as well as before the injury but won’t have Brown and his rush game will be diminished.

This is a replay of Week 15 when the Steelers won 34-27 in Pittsburgh when they posted 21 unanswered points in the second half. The Steelers snuck past the Bengals last week thanks in no small part to “poor strategic decisions” made by their defense. The Broncos are still not scoring many points but the defense shows up in every home game. The most important aspect is that Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams are likely to miss this week and Ben Roethlisberger is banged up as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 @NE 21-28 10 CLE 30-9
2 SF 43-18 11 BYE ——
3 @STL 12-6 12 @SEA 30-39
4 BAL 20-23 13 IND 45-10
5 @SD 24-20 14 @CIN 33-20
6 ARI 25-13 15 DEN 34-27
7 @KC 13-23 16 @BAL 17-20
8 CIN 10-16 17 @CLE 28-12
9 OAK 38-35 W @CIN 18-16
News | Statistics | Roster
Steelers Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,1
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint 50 4-30
RB Jordan Todman 30
TE Heath Miller 3-30,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 2-30
WR Markus Wheaton 6-70
WR Martavis Bryant 8-90
PK Chris Boswell 2 FG 1 XP

The Steelers left Cincinnati with a win but it came at a big cost. Antonio Brown is irreplaceable and with DeAngelo Williams still out, the rushing effort won’t be nearly as good. Add in that the game will be played in Denver and the Steelers big comeback in Week 15 will be hard to expect this time. The Steelers were aided by the Broncos having Brock Osweiler playing injured in the second half.

QUARTERBACK : Ben Roethlisberger was the only quarterback all year that threw for more than 300 yards on the Broncos #1 defense against quarterbacks. He passed for 380 yards and three scores with two interceptions but the only time all year that he threw for more than two scores in a road game was in Cleveland. Just last week he was held to only 229 passing yards and one score by the Bengals. The impact of losing Brown this week cannot be overstated. Roethlisberger suffered torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder along with a sprained AC joint last week but is still tentatively expected to play. His ability to throw deep should be impacted and his accuracy may also suffer.

RUNNING BACK : DeAngelo Williams is more likely to miss this week as well after injuring his foot in Week 16. He ran for only 26 yards on 14 carries in the first meeting with the Broncos but scored once and added five catches for 30 yards. Fitzgerald Toussaint was the primary back in the win over the Bengals and ran for 58 yards on 17 carries plus gained 60 yards on four catches. Jordan Todman also figured in with 11 runs for 65 yards. Both rushers have only that game as their only successful play of the year.

WIDE RECEIVER : Antonio Brown is out with a concussion and while he has not yet been cleared to play, they are not ruling him out. But by all reports, it is a longshot to have Brown play and even HC Mike Tomlin said he would “do what’s right” regarding the healthy of his star wideout. Brown came up with a monster game last time and caught a season best 16 passes for 189 yards and two scores. Markus Wheaton caught six passes for 62 yards and a score in Week 15 as well while Martavis Bryant had a season best ten catches for 87 yards.

TIGHT END : Heath Miller only caught three passes for 12 yards in the first game but the Steelers had fallen behind by 14 points in the first half and resorted to throwing to their wideouts. But Miller has been little used in the last month. That could change this week with Brown likely to miss the game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers were not that productive in the first half of the last meeting but turned it on when the Denver offense stalled out with a banged up quarterback and Big Ben got red hot. But he’s not going to be completely healthy if he does play and removing Brown from the equation makes this offense look far less formidable. Add in the likely loss of DeAngelo Williams and the rushing effort will suffer. Played in Denver makes it all even worse. The Broncos come into this rested and the Steelers are stumbling in wearing bandages.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 14 18 3 29 4 6
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN  1 14 2 22 7 27

Denver Broncos

1 BAL 19-13 10 KC 13-29
2 @KC 31-24 11 @CHI 17-15
3 @DET 24-12 12 NE 30-24
4 MIN 23-20 13 @SD 17-3
5 @OAK 16-10 14 OAK 12-15
6 @CLE 26-23 15 @PIT 27-34
7 BYE —— 16 CIN 20-17
8 GB 29-10 17 SD 27-20
9 @IND 24-27  
News | Statistics | Roster
Broncos Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 260,2
RB C.J. Anderson 40 1-10
RB Ronnie Hillman 50 2-20
TE Owen Daniels 3-20
WR Demaryius Thomas 8-100,1
WR Emmanuel Sanders 5-80,1
WR Jordan Norwood 2-20
PK Brandon McManus 3 FG 2 XP

Peyton Manning returning puts a new slant on this meeting with the Steelers though his impact is harder to judge. The last meeting with the Steelers was a tale of two half’s with the Broncos leading 27-10 in the second quarter before the Steelers mounted a huge comeback in the second half. That was the only time that the Broncos allowed more than 20 points in the last five games. With a banged up Steelers showing up this time, the need to throw should be less and the overall game score much less.

QUARTERBACK : Brock Osweiler rolled up 296 passing yards and three scores in Pittsburgh but Peyton Manning has already been named as the starter. Manning stepped in in Week 17 but only needed to complete five passes against the Chargers. His eight weeks off has him healthy again and he’s been noted to be sharp in practice. His production has been very spotty this year and mostly bad though some of that is related to his mounting injuries. He still has yet to start a game and not throw at least one interception.

RUNNING BACK : The Steelers rush defense has been solid all year and held Ronnie Hillman to only 48 yards on 14 carries and C.J. Anderson only rushed four times for 14 yards. Anderson scored in both Weeks 16 and 17 and gained over 70 yards in each – both home games. Hillman scored in the season finale against the Chargers when he gained a season best 117 yards and a score on just 15 carries. Both runners have been more effective in home venues than on the road.

WIDE RECEIVER : Demaryius Thomas ended with five catches for 61 yards and two scores in Pittsburgh while Emmanuel Sanders had a season high ten catches for 181 yards and a score. But those were on the road and with Osweiler as the quarterback. Playing at home again with a rested and rejuvenated Manning should help both wideouts to maintain at least moderate to good stats again this meeting since the secondary is the weakest part of the defense.

TIGHT END : Vernon Davis has been scaled back in recent weeks and did not record a catch in the last two games. Owen Daniels is the best tight end but has only one score since Week 4 and rarely has any appreciable yardage. He only caught two passes for 14 yards versus the Steelers in Week 15.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Playing at home and starting Peyton Manning makes this tougher to predict since Manning hasn’t started a game in two months and was a turnover machine in the first half of the season. The Steelers bring a good rush defense that should keep Hillman and Anderson from breaking out. But the Steelers are always less formidable in road games and they are bringing in a banged up crew without their star wideout and with a limited Roethlisberger. If the Broncos lose this game, it would be a very bitter pill to swallow and exactly not how Peyton Manning would want to go out.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 29 26 10 20 11 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT  26 3 32 25 13 7

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