The Steelers took care of business last week. Here’s why an overwhelming number of experts have Pittsburgh winning in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos.
It wasn’t a surprise to see the Steelers come away with a road win in Week 1 against the Giants. Though Mike Tomlin has gotten his team off to slow starts in the past, Pittsburgh outmatched New York in talent, as the Giants were one of the worst teams in the league in 2019.
Still, it was a bit surprising to witness the dominance they displayed in the first week of the season. While Pittsburgh certainly wasn’t without their share of mistakes, their defense put quite the hammering on star running back, Saquon Barkley. In addition, their offense got off to a rocky start with some predictable playcalling and lackluster execution by James Conner and the run game. However, things quickly turned around by the end of the second quarter.
Though Pittsburgh didn’t exactly blow the Giants out of the water, experts are taking notice of their star-studded defense and the promising return of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Because of this, it’s not surprising to see the Steelers favored in Week 2 as they host the Denver Broncos at Heinz field.
According to NFL Pick Watch, 93 percent of NFL analysts are picking the Steelers to win, as of Saturday evening. When you look at these two teams right now, it’s not hard to see why.
Why Steelers are clear-cut favorites
The Denver Broncos weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders in Week 1. Though they were hosting the Tenessee Titans at Mile High Stadium, Drew Lock and company managed to put up just 14 points in the sesaon opener.
To make matters worse, they sustained a few key injuries in the early going. Cornerback A.J. Bouye was placed on IR with a shoulder injury while running back Philip Lindsey and former Steelers linebacker Mark Barron did not practice on Friday. Their biggest injury, without a doubt, was losing Von Miller for the season due to an ankle injury in training camp.
Pittsburgh dealt with a few injuries of their own on Monday night, but none quite to that magnitude. James Conner is once again banged up, but was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday, while Stefen Wisniewski has been ruled out with a pectoral injury.
Their worst came with a season-ending ACL injury to starting right tackle, Zach Banner. He will now be replaced by former 3rd round pick, Chukwuma Okorafor – a player that many thought had a chance to win the job out of training camp.
In addition to being generally healthier, the Steelers also looked much better than the Broncos in their opening contest – particularly on the offensive side of the ball. While Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t give an inch to Saquon Barkley, their offense really heated up late in the second half as they were able to impose their will on the Giants as the game went on. The Broncos, on the other hand, managed just two scores all game long despite playing at home.
There’s a chance that the line could shift before kickoff, and experts aren’t always right. However, the fact that so many are choosing the Steelers to run away with this contest should be enough to bode some confidence in their chances of coming away with a win on Sunday.