The Denver Broncos' last road game of 2015 (in the regular season, anyway) will see them as six-point underdogs against the 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers. If that number sounds big to Broncos fans, that's because it is - six points is the largest spread the Broncos have faced since 2012, early in the Peyton Manning era.
Far as I can find, Steelers -6 is biggest spread facing Broncos since Week 5 2012 (Manning's first season here). Stretch of 62 games.— Paul Klee (@bypaulklee) December 15, 2015
The reasoning is easy enough to understand: the Pittsburgh Steelers are red hot, and they're at home. "They're playing really well—probably one of the hotter teams in football," head coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. "A lot of big-play players that have been as good as there is in this business, sitting back there throwing it, hard to get to, hard to get down, and having to go there and play—they’re playing really well right now as a team."
Meanwhile, the 10-3 Broncos just dropped a should-win home game against the Oakland Raiders, and their offense hasn't scored a touchdown in seven quarters of football. Finally, it's Brock Osweiler at the helm, not Peyton Manning; that isn't meant to be a knock on the kid, who has played better than Manning has in 2015. It's a simple reflection that bettors aren't sure what they're going to get in Osweiler; they knew Manning could bounce back big from a loss.
Kubiak hasn't specified a starting quarterback for Sunday yet, although Osweiler is expected to start. If that changes, it'll be interesting to see if the line moves (in either direction) by the injection of Manning.