Broncos Head To Pittsburgh With More Questions Than Answers

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/04/2021 - Last Updated on October 9, 2021
Broncos Steelers betting preview

The speed bump was inevitable.

The fact it was bigger than just about anyone expected has led to some concern.

Is this a one-off for the Denver Broncos? Or is the 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens who the Broncos really are in 2021?

The sooner Broncos Country forgets about this loss, the better. But before we do …

One quick note about the Broncos loss to Baltimore: The betting splits from DraftKings Sportsbook indicates this wasn’t a surprise.

In terms of the spread, 61% of the handle and 70% of bets were on the Ravens.

As for the moneyline, 73% of the handle and 75% of the bets were on the Ravens.

Now at 3-1, Denver has more questions than answers.

Next up is a trip east to face quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3).

Broncos vs Steelers odds

 

Heading into Sunday, the Steelers have lost three-straight games and Big Ben looks like a shell of his former self. The 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday is the most recent. Now there is talk of a hip injury to Roethlisberger that is putting his availability for Sunday’s game into question.

The Broncos betting odds have shifted and they have them as slight favorites. For most of the week, Denver was a slight underdog.

The main reason for that is the clarity at quarterback for the Broncos.

Teddy Bridgewater left the Baltimore game with a concussion and there’s no timetable on his possible return. On Friday, baring any setbacks, Mike Klis reported that Bridewater is set to play. Thus, the adjustment in the odds.

As for the total in Sunday’s game, the current over/under sits at . In all four Denver games this season, the under has hit. Given the questions at quarterback for the Broncos and now Pittsburgh, that’s a safe bet this week.

If Denver sticks with the running game, a valid question at this point, that makes the under even more likely on Sunday.

How the Broncos win

While the loss to the Ravens is just one game, a few concerns popped up that could become rather large for Denver.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos secondary was talked about as being one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL. Yes, cornerback Ronald Darby was hurt on Sunday and didn’t play, but it was thought that Denver matched up well against the Ravens receivers.

Lamar Jackson just shredded the Broncos secondary. Jackson was 22-for-37 for 316 yards and a touchdown.

Now comes a Steelers team that has better receivers. The question is whether Roethlisberger has anything left and can withstand the pass rush from Von Miller and Co. Still, the Denver secondary must play better.

Broncos need to stick with the run

On the offensive side of the ball, it starts and stops with the rushing attack.

The combo of Melvin Gordon and Javonate Williams finished with 104 yards on just 16 rushes. Both averaged over 6 yards per carry. Yet despite the success the Broncos had running the ball, they only ran four times in the second half.

Whomever the starter is on Sunday, the rushing attempts need to jump to at least 25.

Denver offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur needs to put his unit in situations in which it can have success. He failed miserably on that front against the Ravens. Can Shurmur call a better game against TJ Watt and the Steelers?

After their 3-0 start, the NFL betting world wanted the Broncos to “prove it.” Well, Denver flopped its first big test.

The question is how much damage the first speed bump caused to the Broncos. Is this just a one-off that was inevitable or one that wrecked the whole car?

Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly sports betting segment each Wednesday on the VSIN Denver CityCast and a segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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