Steelers take six-game win streak on road vs. Broncos

The Sports Xchange

November 21, 2018 at 10:25 pm.

Going on the road to face the Denver Broncos on Sunday isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In fact, their record away from home is what propelled them to the AFC North title last season and has them on track for a repeat this year.

The Steelers (7-2-1) are 12-1-1 in road games since the beginning of the 2017 season and 4-0-1 this year. They’ll try to extend their six-game overall win streak in Denver against the Broncos (4-6).

The impressive road record has the Steelers in contention for the top seed in the AFC playoffs. They are currently No. 2 in the AFC behind Kansas City (9-2). Only the New Orleans Saints (nine) and the Houston Texans (seven) have longer current winning streaks than Pittsburgh.

The Steelers have been getting strong showings from their defense during the winning streak. They have allowed 21 points or fewer in the past six games. That’s the longest such streak since the 2012 season.

The Broncos might not have a winning record, but they could be a tough matchup for the Steelers. Three of the Broncos’ six losses have been by four points or fewer. All three of those came against division leaders — Rams, Texans and Chiefs.

“They are a 4-6 team, but they’re as battle-tested as any team in the National Football League,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “They’ve played the Chiefs twice and we know what type of run that group is on. They played the L.A. Rams. We know what type of run that group is on. They’ve played the Houston Texans recently. We know what type of run that group is on, so don’t expect them to be intimidated by our presence.

“I know we come into the game on a win streak and all of that, but they’ve gotten comfortable in those environments. Last week they are coming off of a game where they finally broke through and won versus a streaking team.”

The Broncos are coming off a 23-22 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, who had a six-game winning streak snapped.

Denver has a bend-but-don’t-break defense. The Broncos are 22nd in the NFL in yards allowed but 13th in points allowed.

And the defense has showed well in matchups against some of the NFL’s top offenses, allowing just 23 points to the Rams, who average 35.4 per game, and 27 and 30 to the Chiefs, who are averaging 36.7 per game.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller has 10 sacks in the first 10 games.

“Listen, no one can really block Von Miller, to tell you the truth,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We’ll have to put a couple of guys over there. We won’t be crazy and make one guy do it.”

The Steelers will be the Broncos’ third consecutive opponent with a win streak of five or more games.

“It’s the toughest stretch that’s happened in this league in 42 years,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. “That being said, we’re kind of battle-tested. We’ve played the best teams in the league, so for our team, we won’t flinch. We’re looking forward to the challenge.

“It won’t be easy to beat this team. This team is 15-1-1 on the road in their last 17 outings, so we understand how hard it’s going to be, but our team is in a good place and looking for the next challenge, quite frankly.”

The Steelers enter the game with the league’s fourth-best scoring offense. They average 29.9 points per game.

The Broncos have struggled some on offense this season with new quarterback Case Keenum, who signed with Denver after leading the Vikings to the NFL Championship Game last season.

The Broncos are averaging 22.8 points, but a sense of urgency is starting to develop with six games remaining and Denver fighting to reach the playoffs.

“It’s the point of the season where it’s almost a playoff game every week,” Keenum said, “even though it’s not playoffs yet. It’s important games every week. We’ve treated every week as important weeks and every week as ‘must wins.’ I think it’s definitely the ‘whatever it takes’ time.”