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Why Ben Roethlisberger should go over his passing yardage and touchdown total in 2020

Big Ben could have a tough year ahead of him in 2020. We break down what to expect from the Steelers signal caller when he returns from a season-ending elbow injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger makes a throw in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his 2019 ended early by a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2. The signal caller only totaled 351 passing yards with zero scores and an interception after posting career highs in passing yards (5,129) and passing touchdowns (32) the previous season.

Roethlisberger is working toward a 2020 return, and DraftKings Sportsbook already has some projections for his stats. His over/under for passing yards is set at 2,000.5 while his over/under for touchdown passes is 27.5. That’s a tall order for a 38 year old on the mend.

Prediction: Under 4,000.5, Under 27.5 TDs

We think Roethlisberger will fall short of both these marks in his 17th NFL season. Although the veteran told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s that he’s “throwing without pain for the first time in years” last month, his receiving corps isn’t what it used to be.

The Steelers finished 31st in passing yards (2,981) in 2019 and JuJu Smith-Schuster finished third on the team in receiving yards (552) when he was supposed to have a breakout year. James Conner also regressed, causing Pittsburgh to finish fourth from last in rushing yards (1,447). It struggled without Antonio Brown, who was the driving force behind its aerial attack for years. Adding Eric Ebron won’t suddenly transform the Steelers into the an elite passing team again. Roethlisberger has a lot working against him.

Before Brown was drafted in 2010, Roethlisberger had eclipsed 4,000 passing yards once. He’s also only thrown for more than 27 touchdowns once between 2004 and 2009. Roethlisberger only averaged 5.66 yards per passing attempt in the two games he competed in last season, which is well under his career average of 7.8 yards. He’ll be well rested when the season begins, but it’s hard to see him performing at a high level in 2020 after how he played in limited snaps last season.

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