Pittsburgh @ Denver
Recommended Wager: PIT -7.5
-WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was INACTIVE week 1 after being questionable/not practicing. He is limited in practice and should be a true questionable for Sunday.
-RB Phillip Lindsay (foot) was injured week 1. He is expected to miss the “next few weeks,” per the NFL network.
-LB Mark Barron (hamstring) was INACTIVE week 1 after not practicing all week. He did not practice Wednesday.
IR: T Ja’Wuan James (opt out), DT Kyle Peko (opt out), OLB Von Miller (ankle), CB AJ Bouye (shoulder)
-WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) did not practice on Wednesday, but practiced in full on Thursday. He’s fine.
-WR Diontae Johnson (toe) did not practice on Wednesday, but practiced in full on Thursday. He’s fine.
-RB James Connor (ankle) was injured week 1. He did not practice on Wednesday.
-G David DeCastro (knee) was INACTIVE week 1 after not practicing all week. He did not practice on Wednesday.
-G Stefen Wisnewski (pectoral) was injured week 1. He did not practice on Wednesday. Wisnewski is DeCastro’s backup.
-DE Stephon Tuitt (achilles) did not practice on Wednesday.
IR: RT Zach Banner (season ending – ACL)
Spread Breakdown: The line opened at 5.5 and was quickly bet up to 7.5, which is where the model grabbed it. It’s back down to 7 now, so certainly go ahead and bet this bad boy if you haven’t already.
When the Broncos have the ball:
There’s a still massive question surrounding second year QB Drew Lock, who put up a 58.1 PFF grade and year one and a 50.1 grade in his first game this year. Those who are actually nice people would say he’s off to a rough start, I would say he probably just sucks.
He does have a solid 1-2 punch at receiver to work with, however. In 2019, Courtland Sutton hauled in 72 balls for 1,112 yards and 6 TDs, cementing himself as the top option in Denver. He missed last week due to a shoulder injury, and projects to be a game time decision. Jerry Jeudy is a rookie out of Alabama who the Broncos grabbed 15th overall. The scouting report on Jeudy is he’s a monster route runner, easily able to separate against man coverage and projects to be a star in the league. Jeudy was able to show off his route running skills in week 1, but a few bad drops hurt his overall production. DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, and TE Noah Fant are the secondary options. Melvin Gordon will get most of the work on the ground with Phillip Lindsay set to miss this one. The offensive line is mostly respectable, though they struggled at the tackle positions last year and it doesn’t help that Ja’Wuan James opted out.
The Steelers defensive line is the best in football, and we saw that prominently on display last Monday. TJ Watt took his game to yet another level last year, where he was a legit defensive player of the year candidate. Bud Dupree, the Steelers other edge rusher, had a career year in terms of pressures and PFF grade. Inside, Cameron Heyward deserves to be in the discussion of best defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald, and Javon Hargrave had a fantastic season as well. At linebacker, 2019 10th overall selection Devin Bush is trying to improve on an inconsistent rookie season and Vince Williams will server as a run stopping backer. The secondary is also one of the better in the league: Steve Nelson, Joe Haden, and Mike Hilton is a solid corner trio, and Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the better safeties in football. (TL;DR, this defense fucks).
When the Steelers have the ball:
Dealing with a 38 year old QB coming off an elbow injury can’t be fun, especially when he shows up in the offseason looking like the picture above. In his first game back, Ben mostly played well against a pitiful Giants secondary, completing 65.6% of his passes, 7.2 YPA, 3 TDs, 0 picks, and a 83.1 PFF grade. The receiving core could still use some work — JuJu Smith-Schuster came down to earth in his second year after becoming the teams number 1 option, and you’d want better than Diontae Johnson and James Washington as your 2nd/3rd options. To JuJu’s credit, he played well last week, but again, it was the Giants. On the ground, Benny Snell will be the lead back with James Connor being sidelined with an ankle injury. It’s just the running back though, so who cares. The offensive line is mostly solid, though guard David DeCastro hasn’t practiced yet this year, and his backup, Stefen Wisnewski, was injured last week and also isn’t practicing. They also lost RT Zach Banner last week to a torn ACL.
The Broncos defensive line has long since relied on Von Miller to generate their pass rush, and that’s worked simply because Von Miller is an animal. Now 31 years old and on IR, the Broncos need to turn to somebody else. 2018 5th round selection Bradley Chubb either hasn’t lived up to the hype or he’s been limited by injury — you decide which. Inside, Jurrell Casey is consistently solid, but either way, the Steelers injured line shouldn’t have much problem dealing with the Broncos pass rush. The secondary is also an issue — they lost ole reliable Chris Harris Jr to the Chargers and replaced him with AJ Bouye, who is now on IR. Ben shouldn’t have an issue picking on this defense.
That’s it for now, bitches.