This is the Steel City Blitz Three-Point Stance. Your quick-hitting reference guide to everything you need to know about the Steelers and Broncos in their week 12 match-up. It is sponsored by Nail the Number: The Fight Against Cancer.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers 7-2-1 at Denver Broncos 4-6
Where: Mile High Stadium Denver, Colorado
When: 425pm ET Sunday November 25th, 2018
Weather: Clear skies and 42 degrees
Line: Steelers -4
Last Week: Denver defeated LA Chargers 23-22 while the Steelers beat Jacksonville 20-16.
TV: CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson on the Sidelines.
TV Coverage in Your Area: Click on the link to the506.com to see if the Steelers are on in your area.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Head Official: Tony Corrente
Key Injuries: PIT: OT Matt Feiler (Pectoral) – Questionable, OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee) – Out, DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow) – Out DEN: ILB Brandon Marshall (Knee) – Out, CB Bradley Roby (Concussion) – Questionable, S Dymonte Thomas (Ankle) – Out
2018 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 5th DEN 11th Passing Offense: PIT 5th, DEN 15th Rushing Offense: PIT 26th, DEN 9th
Total Defense: PIT 6th, DEN 21st Passing Defense: PIT 7th, DEN 21st Rushing Defense: PIT 9th, DEN 25th
AFC North Rankings: Pittsburgh 7-2-1 Cincinnati 5-5 Baltimore 5-5 Cleveland 3-6-1
This Week: Oakland at Baltimore 1pm, Cleveland at Cincinnati 1pm
What You Need to Know: The Steelers are 6-2 this year when their opponent scores first… One more 300-yard passing game will be the 60th of Ben Roethlisberger’s career… Mike Tomlin is now 42-27-1 on the road versus AFC opponents… Jesse James has played in 50 straight games. The fourth longest active streak for tight ends in the league… Antonio Brown now has 70 career touchdown receptions. The second most in franchise history.
What’s at Stake: The Broncos enter this game much in the same way the Jaguars did in last week’s contest. They are staring up at least two other teams in their division and must win on order to keep their postseason hopes alive. For the Steelers, they need a win to maintain a two-game advantage in the AFC North and to keep their position in the AFC Playoff Race.
All-Time Series: Broncos lead 14-8-1
Series Highs: PASSING: Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 433 yards 11/5/2006
Broncos Brock Osweiler 296 yards 12/20/2015 RUSHING: Steelers Rashard Mendenhall 155 yards 11/9/2009
Broncos Otis Armstrong 131 yards 9/22/1974 RECEIVING: Steelers Antonio Brown 189 yards 12/20/2015
Broncos Emmanuel Sanders 181 yards 12/20/2015
Last (Regular Season) Meeting: In Pittsburgh, 12/20/15 Steelers 34 Broncos 27
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Let’s Get to the Obvious. With no Marcus Gilbert and Matt Feiler at less than 100% Mike Munchak will turn to rookie Chuks Okorafor. The young man has a lot of talent but is he ready for Von Miller? Look for the Steelers to do a lot of chipping with tight ends, backs and the occasional slot receiver to help the rookie out. A strong running game early on will also help alleviate some of the pressure from the outside. The offensive line has done a tremendous job of protecting Ben Roethlisberger this season but Denver might be their biggest challenge.
The Case for Case. Last year in week two the Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 26-9. That team was led by Case Keenum who they’ll see in Denver. Pittsburgh did an excellent job of forcing Keenum to get rid of the ball quickly sacking him twice and holding him to just over 50% completions. That however was his first start there. Now he’s had plenty of action under his belt with the Broncos. Keith Butler’s unit must not only get pressure but they need to confuse Keenum. His receivers aren’t quite as good as the group he had in Minnesota but Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders are no slouches and rookie running back Phillip Lindsay has been a terrific weapon as well. Getting to Keenum early and often will go a long way towards disrupting his timing.
Conner Back on Track. James Conner was forced to leave the blowout win over Carolina early with a concussion but was already on his way towards a good statistical day. Last week in Jacksonville was certainly one he’d like to forget. His presence as a blocker will be extremely important Sunday but so too will his ability to get out of the backfield and catch those dumpoffs when Big Ben is in trouble. Conner has to shake the memory of those dropped fourth quarter passes and re-establish himself as the guy as was prior. A big day from him means big things or the offense.
Prediction: Under both Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher, the Steelers are well under .500 in the Mountain West and Pacific time zones. No need to get into the specifics; it is what it is. Denver has always been a difficult place to play and with the Broncos desperate for a win it will be even tougher. The Denver defense has lost twice to Kansas City and once to the LA Rams. They surrendered 27, 30 and 23 points in those losses. If the Steelers believe their offense is on par with those then they have work to do. because limiting those units to those numbers was pretty impressive. I think the Steelers’ streak comes to an end in the Mile High City. Broncos 23 Steelers 20
Season Prediction Record: 7-3