The Denver Broncos (10-3) are coming off a disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders where the defense dominated for a half, but then saw the offense crumble into ineptitude for the rest of the game. They can't afford another loss, but this weeks' opponent looks like one of the toughest they will face all year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) have won four of their last five and scored over thirty points in all five of those games. They are weak in the secondary, but will Gary Kubiak let loose Brock Osweiler to push the ball deep? If he wants to win the game, he will need to do exactly that.
Here are Mile High Report's Broncos-Steelers score predictions and be sure to give yours in the widget below!
Broncos 24, Steelers 20 - Tim Lynch
This isn't overconfidence that the Broncos are clearly going to win this game. Rather, it is my belief that Kubiak will do what he did during the game against the New England Patriots and push Osweiler to go deep with the football. The bad news is that through four games, Osweiler is the worst deep ball passer in the NFL. The good news is, he wasn't against the Patriots.
The caveat for me is that if Osweiler goes back to the dink and dunk madness that was his game in his other three starts, then the Broncos could get blown out. The defense is fantastic, but wounded and if they start to feel like the offense is again letting them down then it could get ugly. The Broncos must start fast and that defense will never lose its edge against Ben Roethlisberger and that potent offense Pittsburgh has.
Ward: Steelers hot because they haven't played us
The Denver Broncos star safety doesn't seem to mind giving the Pittsburgh Steelers some bulletin board material.
Broncos 21, Steelers 17 - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Because I will never predict a loss, Broncos win 21-17. But I think this will be our toughest test this season, even tougher than New England. So we absolutely cannot make mistakes (ahem DT, Emmanuel and Vernon!) or get into a shootout with the Steelers because Big Ben will win that one every time. We need to stick with the run, keep Roethlisberger off the field, hit those tight ends and for God's sake (or at least Brock's, which is not the same thing ... don't get crazy) block a defender. Also, we're going to have to score touchdowns. Love McManus, but his leg isn't going to be enough against the Steelers. As good as our defense is, we're down a few guys and playing away, so it's not going to be easy to steel this one.
Broncos 34, Steelers 23 - Pete Baron
We will find out the master plan to the QB dilemma this week. What I mean by that is this: The Steelers stop the run better than the pass, which means this is the game to see if Kubiak trusts Brock to get it done as a tune-up for the playoffs, or if it really is Peyton's job and Brock is simply keeping his seat warm.
If he lets Brock fly, the Broncos win 34-23
If he doesn't, and he keeps Brock as a handoff specialist, the Broncos will lose 27-13.
Steelers 27, Broncos 13 - Sadarain
Did Denver get a new offensive line this week? We didn't? Okay. Did we get healthier at safety? NO? Okay. I don't pick against my team in general as an optimist, but there's a big time storm on the horizon. We are facing a great offense with some significant injuries in our defense. Our offense is pathetic and fixing it is going to take far more than a week of practice.
Broncos 35, Steelers 13 - Scotty Payne
Brock Osweiler shuts up Tim Lynch and his critics and puts up a 300+ yard and 3 touchdown performance against the Steelers in their house. C.J. Anderson will return and give the Broncos the running game they need to make their offense work. Look for Emmanuel Sanders to have a big game against his former team.
The Broncos defense will sack, intercept and force fumbles against the Steelers offense. It will be like watching the Seahawk/Broncos Super Bowl. Good offenses get shut down by great defenses. Vonster will be a monster on Sunday. He'll keep his sack streak going, and DeMarcus Ware will be a force when he's out there.
Ian Henson's "Prediction"
If the Pittsburgh Steelers are Supermen, Demaryius Thomas is kryptonite. The game total is 44 1/2 points with the Steelers favored by 6 1/2.
I'll take Denver and here is why, Ben Roethlisberger has teed off on the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts while struggling against the Cincinnati Bengals (twice), St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Now which of those sets of teams more resemble the Denver Broncos and this defense that is on historical pace and currently the only defense in history that leads the NFL in total defense (272.5 yards per game), scoring defense (17.3 points per game) and sacks (44). No defense in history has led the NFL in all three.
The Steelers’ strength is Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, but unlike most defenses, the Broncos will not need to double Brown and leave Bryant available for receptions. Denver can leave Harris on the slot receiver and Talib on the outside all day, this defense has given up 2 touchdowns to receivers this season and neither of them were incredible receivers. I expect Bradley Roby to line up against Markus Wheaton and Wheaton's been under acheving to say the least, but is the 4th most targeted Pittsburgh receiver in the last month and a half.
Where I see the defense having trouble is with running back DeAngelo Williams catching out of the backfield. However, with Danny Trevathan back, you are now rocking with the best.
The Steelers defense is less than a week from giving up 132 yards to the Bengals' A.J. Green on 6 receptions. I think that means that we will see a heavy dosage of Demaryius Thomas justifying his salary. Though I am still not positive that Brock Osweiler can competently pass over 6 yards.
Broncos 17, Steelers 16 - Kyle Montgomery
What comes up, must come down, and the Steelers are due for a cool-off. I think the Broncos offense is more capable than what they showed last Sunday, and I think they'll rise to the occasion as big underdogs. I also think this defense still has a chip on its shoulder and will show it vs. Pittsburgh.
What is your score prediction, Broncos Country?
The create of this widget, Crowdsline, now allows you to create an account to track your prediction success with a "personal scorecard". It's in beta and available for us to test out over the final three games. Good stuff and if you'd prefer not to participate in that, then your score will still count for the Mile High Report scorecard.