- The Steelers and Broncos highlight this week's Week 12 NFL Props
- Pittsburgh heads to Denver where they put their six-game winning streak on the line
- Denver is looking for their first back-to-back wins since Weeks 1 and 2
This week two teams face off at very different points in their seasons in our Week 12 NFL Props.
After a rocky start, the Pittsburgh Steelers are rolling. They've won six in a row, most by pretty convincing fashion. Now they're looking for number seven after an arduous road win in Jacksonville.
The Denver Broncos narrowly avoided a third-straight loss, topping the Chargers 23-22 in Week 11. A win this week would get them back within a game of .500.
Prop #1: Can James Conner produce at Mile High?
|James Conner rushing yards vs DEN||BetOnline Odds|
|85+ Rushing Yards||-119|
|95+ Rushing Yards||+104|
|105+ Rushing Yards||+136|
James Conner is coming off of one of his worst weeks as a pro.
His nine carries and 25 yards against the Jaguars are his third-lowest totals of the season. It was also just the third time in 2018 that he has been held without a touchdown, receiving or rushing.
Some have wondered if this is a predictable slow down for, essentially, a rookie back. Conner has 173 carries through 10 games this year, and another 45 receptions. He had 32 total touches last year.
|James Conner's least productive weeks||Rushing Attempts||Yards||Average||TD||PFF Grade (Rank)|
|Week 2 vs KC||8||17||2.1||1||62.8 (32nd)|
|Week 4 vs BAL||15||61||2.7||1||79.2 (16th)|
|Week 11 @ JAX||9||25||2.8||0||81.8 (12th)|
The more likely scenario was that he just faced a good defense. And he has another one on tap this week.
Denver is 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game at 127.9. That number is a little deceiving though.
Since allowing 208 yards rushing to Todd Gurley in Week 6, the #Broncos defense has not allowed 100 yards in team rushing over the last four games against some very good backs (78 yds/game vs. ARI, KC, HOU, LAC). #Steelers establishing run is big key Sunday IMHO.
— Ray Eckenrode (@15MinutesBlog) November 22, 2018
It’s mostly due to a killer three game stretch against the Chiefs, Jets and Rams. From Weeks 4-6, the Broncos were run on 34.3 times a game and gave up 245 yards per game. The fewest they gave up on the ground was 142 against the Chiefs.
Outside of those games, the Broncos allowed 77.7 yards on the ground through their first three games, and 77.8 over their last four. That would give them a top-three run defense this season.
That’s where Pro Football Focus has them, as their 90.5 grade is the third-best mark in the NFL. The Jaguars were the first rushing defense Conner has faced this year that ranks in the top 15.
Denver will continue to re-assert their dominance on the ground against Conner and the Steelers.
The Pick: James Conner picks up between 85-95 rushing yards (-119)
Prop #2: Courtland Sutton gets at least one receiving TD
|Courtland Sutton TDs vs Steelers||BetOnline Odds|
For those waiting for the uptick in Courtland Sutton’s usage, it’s been a bit of a frustrating wait.
Over the last three weeks, Sutton has had a fairly consistent floor: three receptions and anywhere from 50-70 yards. But Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston in the middle of that stretch. It was assumed Sutton would pick up the slack.
*28-yard TD reception
Sutton’s average usage has gone up from 69.3% to 85.5%. His targets are up from 3.6 to 5.5. But his red zone targets?
Over all five of those games…Not. A. Single. One.
Courtland Sutton has “got so much better so much faster,” according to Case Keenum.
“‘Court’s’ doing a great job of really continuing to mold his craft as a receiver and not just having a few routes that he’s good at.”
— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) November 22, 2018
Eventually that has to change.
Joe Haden has been able to lock down opposing receivers three-straight weeks, surrendering six total receptions. He’ll likely draw Emmanuel Saunders.
That leaves Mike Hilton or Coty Sensabaugh for Sutton. They are the 102nd and 103rd ranked CBs respectively.
Case Keenum will have to look for somebody in the red zone if Saunders draws Haden. Sutton had his only four red zone targets come in Week 5 against the Jets. Expect him to get some looks in Week 12.
The Pick: Courtland Sutton hauls in at least ONE (+229) touchdown against the Steelers
Prop #3: Steelers Struggle to Score
|Total Steelers Touchdowns in Week 12||Odds at BetOnline|
Ben Roethlisberger on the road, and Ben Roethlisberger at home are drastically different QBs.
While Roethlisberger’s yardage doesn’t take a big hit away from Pittsburgh, his touchdowns drop and his interceptions rise. In five road games, Roethlisberger has nine interceptions and seven interceptions. At home he’s got 14 touchdowns and just three picks.
He has just two multi-interception games this season, and both have come on the road.
|Ben Roethlisberger Road Opponent||COMP/ATT (%)||Yards||TD/INT|
|Week 1 @ CLE||23/41 (56.1%)||335||1 TD/3 INT|
|Week 3 @ TB||30/38 (78.9%)||353||3 TD/ 1 INT|
|Week 6 @ CIN||32/46 (69.6%)||369||1 TD/0 INT|
|Week 9 @ BAL||28/47 (59.6%)||270||2 TD/0 INT|
|Week 11 @ JAX||27/47 (57.4%)||314||2 TD/3 INT|
The interesting caveat here, is that he has yet to play back-to-back road games this year.
Over the past three years, Roethlisberger has played back-to-back road games four times. In the second game of back-to-backs, he’s thrown an interception three times.
He’ll be in tough against the Broncos pass defense too.
|Opposing QBs in Denver||COMP/ATT (%)||Yards||TD/INT|
|Week 1 vs SEA||25/39 (64.1%)||242||3 TD/2 INT|
|Week 2 vs OAK||29/32 (90.6%)||281||1 TD/ 0 INT|
|Week 4 vs KC||28/45 (62.2%)||304||1 TD/0 INT|
|Week 6 vs LAR||14/28 (50.0%)||174||0 TD/1 INT|
|Week 9 vs HOU||17/24 (70.8%)||192||2 TD/0 INT|
Denver has given up 300+ yards just once at home this year. While they haven’t generated a ton of interceptions, they’ve done well to limit some big name QBs in the touchdown department.
Roethlisberger is very Road Ben today.
— Michael Salfino (@MichaelSalfino) November 18, 2018
They also compare favorably to the Jaguars’ defense Big Ben just faced. The Jaguars’ coverage grade is slightly better (76.3 to 76.0) to the Broncos.
With the Steelers on the second of two road games in a venue where East coast teams typically struggle, don't expect Roethlisberger's typical aerial dominance.
The Pick: Under 2.5 Steelers TDs (+120)
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