Broncos vs. Steelers NFL Week 5 Picks and Odds Breakdown

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Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos. Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/AFP.

The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers face off in a matchup of two hard-hitting defenses. Which team should you pick based on the NFL odds?

Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 

Sunday, October 10, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Heinz Field

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 1-3 after losing to the Green Bay Packers 27-17 on Sunday.

The Steelers were once again plagued by a mistake made in the offseason that will haunt them all season: bringing back Ben. Ben Roethlisberger is past his prime and is now a detriment to the team at quarterback. Once again Ben missed many wide-open receivers as the team failed to put up over 17 points for the fourth straight game this season.

The Steelers opened the 2020 season with 11 straight wins. Since then they are 2-8.

Roethlisberger finished the game 26-44 for 232 yards and an interception. Watching the game it was quite evident that Roethlisberger lost the zip on his passes and touch to get his teammates the ball when they were open.

Pittsburgh's reliance on the run game is destroyed by the fact that the offensive line cannot block. RB Najee Harris is an ultra-talented player, but oftentimes the first contact with the defender is behind the line of scrimmage. It requires a great play just to squeeze out two or three yards.

The Steelers are constantly being beat at the line of scrimmage. On the plays the pass protection does hold up, Ben often fails to deliver the ball. Other than dump-offs to Harris and short crossing routes, there are not many throws left that Roethlisberger can make with precision or accuracy.

One would have to wonder how many more weeks the Steelers will continue to trot out Ben at quarterback when his best days are clearly behind him.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ hopes against the Ravens were dashed when QB Teddy Bridgewater left the game with a concussion. They fell to the Ravens 23-7.

Bridgewater’s status is unknown, but for the purposes of this article, I will write assuming Bridgewater will make a successful return this Sunday. One might want to wait however to find out which quarterback will play, as I think this team is greatly downgraded with Drew Lock at quarterback.

The Broncos were struggling to move the ball against the Ravens even with Bridgewater in the game however as they punted on 10 of their first 12 possessions. Bridgewater's replacement QB Drew Lock finished 12-21 for 113 yards and one interception.

Denver got adequate production from their running game. Melvin Gordon and Jamaal Williams combined for 104 yards on 16 carries, an average of 6.2 yards a carry. The Broncos will need to run the ball well against the Steelers regardless of who the quarterback is.

The Broncos have one of the top defenses in the NFL but they are especially stout against the run. They held Lamar Jackson to 28 yards and the Ravens only had 102 yards total rushing yards. The Ravens caused controversy with a late-game run play to break a record.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio was not pleased. The Ravens chose to run a running play when most teams would kneel down in order to keep their streak of hundred-yard rushing games alive.

The Broncos did have problems against the pass however as Lamar Jackson did dial-up 316 yards of passing on Sunday. After facing Jackson, the Broncos pass defense will get a reprieve against Roethlisberger, but it will be interesting to see if the Broncos choose to blitz Roethlisberger or sit back in a zone against him as he is shown an inability to connect on the deep throws this season.

Key Matchup

Pittsburgh's secondary vs. Broncos wide receivers. The Broncos need to get it going on offense as they cannot rely on their defense to do everything. Denver will need to advance the ball through the air as the Steelers’ run defense is stout.

The Steelers have had problems with individual coverage in the secondary so if the Broncos wide receivers can get open, they can make it easy for Teddy Bridgewater to move the ball down the field and get the lead, where the Broncos excel.

Ideally, the Broncos would like to get a lead and allow their pass rush to eat Roethlisberger alive in the pocket, taking advantage of his lack of mobility.

If the Broncos wide receivers can get open, I believe the Broncos should cruise to an easy victory. If the Steelers can lock down the Broncos’ receivers and force them to become a one-dimensional running team, they could turn the season and the narrative around for their team.

Best Bet

I cannot back the Pittsburgh Steelers against a good team while Ben Roethlisberger is still the quarterback. If Drew Lock starts, this might become equal in terms of quarterback play. I do expect Bridgewater to recover from his concussion and be out there leading the team.

For your NFL pick, if you are a cautious bettor you might wait for the news that Bridgewater is playing, but be aware that you will probably give up a point or two of value when the announcement is made. I am going to take the risk (hopefully getting an extra couple of points of value) by taking the Broncos right now at Pick'em.

NFL Pick: Denver Broncos PK (-108) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

Denver Broncos PK (-108)
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