Kickoff Sunday, Oct 10th 1:00pm Eastern

Broncos (
20.5) at

Steelers (
19)

Over/Under 39.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
20th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
28th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
28th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
32nd DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D
21st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
7th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
10th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
15th DVOA/13th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>
  • Denver is in an interesting situation as they are dealing with several offensive injuries and coming off their first loss of the season
  • Pittsburgh is quickly approaching “time to panic” as they enter Week 5 at 1-3 with seven remaining games against 2020 playoff teams, in addition to road games at Cincinnati and the Chargers
  • Both teams will likely try to lean on their defense to win this game
  • This projects as a low-scoring, slow-paced game environment with very low likelihood of either team wanting or needing to turn things up a notch

How denver Will Try To Win ::

Teddy Bridgewater’s status is very much up in the air as he deals with a concussion and Denver is trying to bounce back from their first loss of the season to the Ravens. Pittsburgh should provide a tougher test than Denver saw during their season-opening three-game win streak (Giants, Jags, Jets), but is not the same level of opponent as Baltimore provided last week. This week sets up as an opportunity for the Broncos to prove themselves with a road win against a traditionally very competitive franchise. Every team in the AFC West is currently at or above .500 which makes this a critical game for Denver as they need to take care of this Pittsburgh team that has been struggling since their Week 1 win in Buffalo.

The status of Bridgewater will have a huge impact on the approach of the Broncos as well as the entire game flow of this game. Teddy has been dealing so far this season, with zero turnovers through three and a half games while pushing the ball down the field to the tune of the 6th highest aDOT among all qualifying QBs. Meanwhile, Lock’s entire career has been plagued by turnovers and the team turned away from him for Teddy for a reason before the season started. It is more than safe to say that if Lock is forced to start the Broncos will do everything they can to minimize the damage he can do to their chances of winning. Ben Roethlisberger has looked shaky, to say the least, so far this season and with Denver’s strong defense against the shaky Pittsburgh offensive line it would make sense for Denver to rely on their defense taking over in this one.

This section should more aptly be titled, “How Denver Will Try To Keep Drew Lock From Losing It For Them.” Pittsburgh has a very good run defense (5th in rush defense DVOA, 3rd in PFF rush defense grade) which will make for tough sledding for Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams on the ground. Both backs could be more involved through the air this week as they each possess the skillset to do so and with the coaching staff likely reluctant to have Lock try to stretch the field vertically, they will need to find ways to stretch the field horizontally if they want to move the ball. One of the more intriguing things for the Broncos entering this season was their dynamic receiving corps, but after injuries to Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler they lack the depth that made them so special and dynamic. Pittsburgh has traditionally been poor against slot WR’s, which could mean big things for tight end Noah Fant (who is coming off a 10 target game last week) and is featured in that “middle of the field” role that Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler would occupy, if healthy. Assuming Lock is behind center, the Broncos are unlikely to encourage aggressive downfield throws. During the third quarter last week, which was played at a 17-17 tie for the duration of the quarter, Lock targeted RBs or TEs on 7 of his 9 passing attempts and we should expect a similar dispersion this week for as long as that is a viable approach. 

How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

Pittsburgh is returning home for what is as close to a “must-win” game as a team can have in Week 5. A perennial playoff and Super Bowl contender for most of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, they are now staring in the face of obscurity. Pittsburgh’s remaining schedule is brutal and a home game against a backup QB is one that they absolutely must find a way to win if they want to have any shot at the playoffs.

Pittsburgh’s offensive line is dead last in the NFL with a pathetic 3.0 average adjusted line yards on rushing attempts. Facing Denver’s 6th graded rush defense by PFF, it is unlikely that the Steelers will find this game is the one where they turn around their ground attack. That means that, unfortunately, the Steelers will need to lean on Big Ben if they want to move the ball here. He has looked beyond dusty this season, with several head-scratching plays in the past couple of weeks where the Steelers actually called plays on 4th and mid-to-long where the pass was thrown behind the line of scrimmage!! While we can make our own judgments from watching the games, teams often tell us what they think through their actions. Pittsburgh’s play-calling signals that they agree with the assessment that Ben is dusty and unable to push the ball downfield consistently or efficiently. 

We’ve established that Pittsburgh will not be able to run the ball well and that Ben is not at a point in his career where vertical passing will be a fruitful endeavor. What that leaves them with is a heavy dose of short-area passing. This would mirror the approach they have been rolling with as they have thrown the ball on 75% of their offensive plays over the previous three weeks. Usually, in a spot like this (coming off three consecutive losses) you would look for a team to change up their approach to try to spark something. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh their offensive line and matchup issues are too severe for them to change course and having Ben throw 40+ times (as he has done the last three weeks) gives them their best chance at winning.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Neither team is likely to put their foot on the gas until they absolutely have to. Even if a situation occurs where one side is forced to pick up the pace and push the ball downfield, they would be unlikely to have much success given their matchups. A negative game script and trying to come back from a deficit is not a recipe for success for dusty Ben Roethlisberger and careless Drew Lock. If Teddy Bridgewater were to pass the concussion protocol and be cleared to play, it would increase the chances that Denver wins this game but would not do much to change the low percentage outcome of a high-scoring affair.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • 40 Vegas total is the lowest in Week 5
  • DEN takes 32.9 adjusted seconds per play, slowest in the NFL (per numberFire)
  • PIT ranks 27th with 32.0
  • PIT ranks 3rd in adjusted pass rate at 67.4%
  • DEN ranks 6th with 64.9%

Drew Lock

  • Lock ranked 35th in PFF grade last season
  • Lock has scored 20+ DK pts in 5 out of 18 career games
  • In his last start, he put up 27.26 against the Raiders
  • His career DK ppg is just 15.57
  • PIT ranks 22nd in ppg to QBs (22)

DEN Passing Attack

  • With Teddy Bridgewater this season, DEN used 11 personnel 56%, 12 personnel 27%, and 13 personnel at 12% (one of only three teams with double digit usage)
  • With Lock last year, they used 11 at 66%, 12 at 22%, and no other personnel grouping above 4%
  • Team snap shares: Noah Fant 83.3% // Courtland Sutton 81.7% // Tim Patrick 77.6% // Jerry Jeudy 47% // Albert Okwuegbunam 45.2%
  • Target shares: Sutton 21.2% // Fant 20.5% // Patrick 14.4% // Albert 7.6%
  • Prior to his injury, Jeudy had 7 targets in his only game this season
  • Sutton’s targets: 3 // 12 // 5 // 8
  • Fant’s: 8 // 6 // 3 // 10
  • Patrick’s: 4 // 4 // 5 // 6
  • Sutton ranks 5th in air yards, 13th in air yard market share, and 24th in WOPR among all players
  • Sutton’s DK log: 2.4 // 27.9 // 8.7 // 7.7
  • Patrick’s DK log: 13.9 // 12.7 // 14.8 // 6.9
  • With Sutton injured all last year and Lock at QB, Patrick scored 20+ pts twice in 14 games
  • Jeudy only cracked 15 points twice without Sutton last season, out of 15 games, but in those games he scored 28.5 & 30 DK pts
  • PIT ranks 28th in DK ppg to WRs (44.9)
  • Fant ranks 4th in target share and 7th in WOPR among all TEs this year
  • Fant’s DK log: 12.2 // 13.3 // 3.5 // 16.6
  • He averaged 10.66 DK ppg in 14 games last season, with three GPP worthy scores: 17.7 // 19.1 // 20.8
  • PIT ranks 12th in ppg to TEs (9.7)

DEN RBs

  • Team snap shares: Melvin Gordon 53.2% // Javonte Williams 45.2%
  • Target shares: Melvin 8.3% // Javonte 6.8%
  • Touches per game: Melvin 14.8 // Javonte 13.5
  • Rush share: Melvin 46% // Javonte 41%
  • Goal line rushes: Javonte 5 // Melvin 4
  • Melvin’s DK log: 23.8 // 8.9 // 15.2 // 8.7
  • Javonte’s DK log: 5.1 // 8.4 // 14.2 // 8.9
  • PIT ranks 5th in DK ppg to RBs (16.1)

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Ben ranks 33rd in PFF grade
  • Ben’s DK log this year: 12.02 // 14.8 // 18.22 // 11.28
  • Last year he averaged 20.53 pts
  • He scored 22.24 points at home against DEN last year
  • DEN ranks 4th in pts allowed to QBs (14.6)

PIT Passing Attack

  • PIT uses 11 personnel at an 81% rate (2nd in NFL to LAR’s 82%) and 12 personnel at 12%
  • Last season, they finished 2nd in 11 personnel usage (75%)
  • Team snap shares: JuJu 76.7% // Claypool 61.5% // Diontae Johnson 57.6% // James Washington 55.3% // Eric Ebron 49% // Pat Freiermuth 48.2%
  • Target shares: Diontae 20.6% // Claypool 17.1% // JuJu 15.9% // Washington 7.6% // Freiermuth 6.5% // Ebron 5.3%
  • Diontae missed Week 3, Claypool missed Week 4
  • Diontae’s target log: 10 // 12 // – // 13
  • Claypool: 5 // 9 // 15 // –
  • JuJu: 8 // 7 // 4 // 8
  • Despite missing a week, Diontae still ranks 17th in total targets among all players, 5th in target share, and 7th in WOPR
  • Diontae’s DK log: 14.6 // 22.5 // 24.2
  • He’s scored 20+ in 10/34 games
  • Despite missing a week, Claypool ranks 24th in total air yards, 11th in air yard market share, and 19th in WOPR
  • Claypool’s DK log: 10 // 9.7 // 18.6
  • He’s scored 20+ in 4/20 games
  • JuJu’s DK log: 9.2 // 16.4 // 5.5 // 3.1
  • In 63 career games, JuJu has scored 20+ DK pts a total of 17 times
  • DEN ranks 16th in ppg to WRs (37.9)
  • Ebron’s best output as a Steeler came in their playoff loss to the Browns last year (19.2)
  • Since then, he hasn’t hit 3 pts
  • Rookie Freiermuth’s DK log: 3.4 // 7.6 // 11.2 // 2.1
  • DEN ranks 4th in ppg to TEs (6)

Najee Harris

  • Najee leads all RBs in total snaps (238, Derrick Henry in 2nd with 215), snap share (92.6%, Alvin Kamara in 2nd with 81.8%), targets (34, D’Andre Swift in 2nd with 29), target share (20%, Swift at 17.9%), and RBOPR (0.55, Henry at 0.45)
  • His 20.2 touches per game rank 6th
  • He has only 2 TDs
  • His 19.3 DK ppg ranks 6th
  • Najee’s DK log: 5.9 // 19.1 // 31.2 // 21.1
  • DEN ranks 1st in ppg to RBs (10.2)