2015 Season NFL Football Past Picks
January 17, 2016
This pick was released to clients on January 20, 2022 at 1:23PM ET.
Pittsburgh at Denver
Sunday 01/17 04:40 PM Eastern
1 unit on Game Total UNDER 41 +100 (risk 1 to return 2) RESULT: WIN
An evening game in Denver in January means cold temperatures (in the 30s). It will also be a battle of conservative offenses and hard-hitting defenses with QBs that both have issues. Who's behind center? The better question might be, "Are the backup quarterbacks better than the starters?" It's been a strange season for the QBs of these teams. The Steelers have used multiple QBs because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger, who is still banged up. He is likely to play but will be limited on his throwing options. There is talk in Pittsburgh of going to a short, safe passing game, while mixing in runs like they did against Cincinnati last week, to control the ball and the clock. Pittsburgh is 8-2 UNDER the total on the road and 11-4-1 UNDER against the AFC. They face a Denver team that has tried to force the run all season under first-year coach Gary Kubiak with mostly poor results as they lost star OT Ryan Clady even before the season began. They have never really recovered at #17 in rushing. The Steelers are outstanding up front against the run, ranked fifth, and can get after the QB with their zone blitzes. The Broncos don't want to get 39-year-old QB Peyton Manning (seven TDs, 19 INTs; four neck surgeries) killed so they will stick to their ball control, conservative approach. The strength of the Broncos is still the defense, one of the best in the NFL, third against the run, first against the pass, and fourth in points allowed. Denver is 6-2-1 UNDER the total at home and this shapes up as a game with more field goals than TDs. In their last 21 road games vs. good defenses (teams like Denver allowing under 4.8 yards per play), the Steelers are 16-5 to the UNDER. In his coaching career, Gary Kubiak is 27-13 UNDER when his team is favored in this range (3.5 to 9.5 points). With a healthy Big Ben I would love the Steelers here, but can't play them with his status. But, there's still a play here: take the UNDER.
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