Match-Up: #6 Pittsburgh Steelers @ #1 Denver Broncos
Spread: Broncos (-7.0)
When: Sunday, January 17th, 4:40 PM
Where to Watch: CBS
It was an odd season for the Broncos. Wade Philips transformed an already good defense into one of the best ones we’ve seen in the past 10 years… Seriously, look at this Broncos defense and find a hole. Good luck, because you won’t. Meanwhile, the offense struggled. The offensive line lost many pieces from last year, which made life tougher for the quarterbacks, whether it was Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler. Speaking of, while the young Brock Lobster did have his moments, neither QB was able to stand out this year. Manning will get the nod in this game as he tries to go for glory one last time.
Derek Wolfe (DL) – We could talk all day about guys like Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, so on… But Wolfe has played out of his mind this year. Furthermore, he’ll often be lined up against the back-up center Cody Wallace who… is… not ideal. Look for Wolfe to ABUSE him, which will likely completely take away the inside rushing attack for Pittsburgh.
Oh what could of been. On paper, this was one of the most terrifying offenses we’d see this year. Unfortunately, Le’veon Bell missed most of the season, and starting center Maurkice Pouncey missed the whole season. There were some inconsistent games as well, including a Week 16 loss to the ELITE Ryan Mallett and the Ravens. Now, Antonio Brown is concussed and Ben Roethlisberger has half of his shoulder… The legendary match-up that this could have been will likely be underwhelming.
Cameron Hayward (DL) – This goes for Tuitt too, but Heyward has been a little better this year. If the Steelers can pressure Manning AND clog the middle, they have a much better chance to win this game. All it will take is a few bad turnovers that Manning has been known for this year, for even Landry Jones to manage some points against this defense. Pressure Manning, hit him, make him uncomfortable. Hayward will be one of the main guys opening up one-on-ones for Harrison, Tuitt, and Moats.
Final Score Prediction
If Ben and Brown were healthy, I’d take Pittsburgh in a heartbeat… But they aren’t… Because of this, I have to take the Broncos. That defense is too good, ESPECIALLY since it looks like Deangelo Williams can’t play either.
Photo Credit: http://steelerswire.usatoday.com/2016/01/14/divisional-round-game-picks-experts-are-on-denver-and-so-are-we/