Antonio Brown total receiving touchdowns during 2017-18 NFL regular season
Over 11 (-115)
Under 11 (-115)
Antonio Brown total receiving yards during 2017-18 NFL regular season
Over 1,550 (-125)
Under 1,550 (-105)
A few years back Roethlisberger claimed the Steelers should average over 30 points per game given the collection of talent on that side of the football. It hasn’t happened yet, and in fact it’s never happened in Pittsburgh. But this could be the year. Brown is the premier receiver in the NFL and has been Big Ben’s favorite target for several years.
Entering his eighth season in the black and gold, Brown is in the prime of his career. He’s caught over 100 passes in each of the last four seasons and hasn’t had less than 1,284 receiving yards in that span. When Roethlisberger was contemplating retirement during the offseason, it was Brown who made a pitch to Big Ben. And why not, Brown needs Roethlisberger throwing him the football and Big Ben needs AB catching it. That duo makes the offense work.
There’s a noticeable drop in Brown’s production when Roethlisberger isn’t quarterbacking the team and the two have built a rapport on the field that makes them a dynamic duo. There was a slight dip in Brown’s numbers last season, due in part to the Steelers not having a complementary receiver. That changes in 2017 with JuJu Smith-Schuster taken in the draft and Martavis Bryant back from suspension.
The biggest issue facing Brown in reaching the over on these props is the talent on Pittsburgh’s offense. The drafting of Smith-Schuster and the return of Bryant gives Roethlisberger two other talented receivers to throw the ball to. Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers, two top targets from a season ago, are also in the mix.
Then there’s that guy in backfield by the name of Le’Veon Bell, who just happens to be one of the best runners and is probably the best pass-catching back in the entire NFL. Roethlisberger has a plethora of options on offense and there just aren’t enough footballs to go around.
Brown is easily the No. 1 option at receiver and part of Roethlisberger’s frustration that led to his retirement talk was the Steelers lack of a threat behind Brown. That boiled over after the AFC Championship game when the Steelers were rocked by the Patriots. Now, Big Ben has those options available as well as Brown, which should make the unit hum.
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The return of Bryant, if he can behave himself, could actually work in Brown’s favor to top the yardage total. Defenses were able to key on Brown last season as the only deep threat in the offense and he was limited to 1,284 yards. That was still a good number and ranked him fifth in the NFL, but it was Brown’s fewest receiving yards in four seasons.
When Bryant was around in 2015, Brown produced his finest season numbers-wise. Another deep threat on the outside opened the field and Brown caught 136 passes for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. And he did that with Roethlisberger missing four games.
The Steelers are standing by their pledge to average 30 points a game and Roethlisberger is all in for 2017. We don’t know his status beyond this season, but Big Ben has an array of weapons at his disposal and as long as he stays healthy, he’s going to be tossing the ball all over the yard. Opposing defenses will be spread thin trying to defend against Bryant and Bell out of the backfield. The line could be the strongest the Steelers have had in some time, helping to keep Roethlisberger upright. If he has time he can pick teams apart. And Brown is the top target. There really is no reason to think Brown won’t top both totals in 2017.
NFL Prediction: Antonio Brown OVER 11 total receiving touchdowns
NFL Prediction: Antonio Brown OVER 1,550 total receiving yards