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How many starts will Ben Roethlisberger make in 2017-18

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Ben Roethlisberger is the key to making the Pittsburgh Steelers offense work and it simply isn’t the same without him. Take a look at what Landry Jones has done over the past few years. Big Ben has been dinged up the past two seasons and hasn’t played a full 16 games because of it. And he isn’t getting any younger, which had Roethlisberger talking retirement in the offseason.

But Ben went all in for 2017 and with the end starting to come into focus the Steelers need to go all in as well. And that means having their star quarterback on the field as much as possible.

How many starts will Ben Roethlisberger make for the Steelers during 2017-18 NFL regular season?

Over 14.5 ( +110 )

Under 14.5 ( -140 )

Simply put Roethlisberger is a winner. The Steelers have never had a losing record with him on the roster, but they haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 2008 season, which is a long time by Pittsburgh standards. And that is motivation for Big Ben, who wants to win another NFL championship by the time he hangs up his cleats.

Roethlisberger hinted at retirement following a loss to New England in last season’s AFC Championship game. He decided to return for the 2017 campaign with no mention of plans beyond that. Big Ben says he’s all in and at age 35, he likely has a few good years left in him if he stays healthy.

And that’s the big issue with Roethlisberger on this prop bet. He missed four games due to injury in 2015 and missed another after having a minor procedure on his knee last season. He missed only one game in 2016 as the bye week occurred during the time he had surgery. But Roethlisberger was rested late in the year in a game with Cleveland.

Key Factor

Roethlisberger has a lot of toys to play with and that will make him want to take the field every week. A few years ago Big Ben said the Steelers could average 30 points per game. They came close, but didn’t reach that lofty goal. In fact, the Steelers have never averaged 30 points per game in a season.

They came close in 2014 when they set a franchise record by scoring 27.3 points per game. Roethlisberger started all 16 regular season games that season. With Martavis Bryant back after a yearlong suspension, Le’Veon Bell healthy and sober and an offensive line that allowed just 21 sacks last year, the second-fewest in the entire league, keeping Big Ben upright shouldn’t be an issue.

Roethlisberger is tough as nails and he’s proven that during his career. He missed just one game last season after sustaining a knee injury. The team’s off week was in the middle of that and Big Ben bounced back from surgery to return to the starting lineup. As long as he can stand, Roethlisberger will play.

NFL Free Picks

Roethlisberger hasn’t started all 16 regular season games since 2014 and he’s made at least 15 starts just three times in the past seven seasons. The biggest detractor for him reaching the over is his age. He’s 35 now and has taken a beating with his fearless style over the years.

But there are several factors working in his favor. Big Ben is committed to this season and this season only. His retirement talk surfaced in January. And while he is back for this season, Big Ben hasn’t made any statements about future years. While some might find that alarming, it sounds like Roethlisberger wants another go at the glory.

The Steelers have the talent to win a title and the offense should be at or near the top of the stat categories. Antonio Brown is one of the best wideouts in the game and the return of Bryant should make the vertical attack special. Bell is shifty and the best pass-catching back in the game. The underrated part of the group is the line. The group is back together after allowing just 21 sacks last season. That’s a feat in itself considering Roethlisberger isn’t the most nimble quarterback.

This season could be exciting for the Steelers on the offensive front. They have the weapons at the skill positions and the line outperformed Dallas’ group in several categories last season. Big Ben will also be more careful with his body after years of harassment, which will allow him to stay on the field longer.

NFL Prediction: Ben Roethlisberger Over 14.5 Starts

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