Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos Predictions & Analysis 1/8/12

Last Updated: January 8th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The mantra of “Good vs. Evil” might be the storyline once again on Sunday in the final game on the NFL playoff schedule in Wild Card weekend. The Denver Broncos are going to be squaring off with the Pittsburgh Steelers in a clash that, at least on paper, seems like it would be a ridiculous mismatch. Check out our Wild Card keys to the game to help beat the Broncos vs. Steelers odds.

NFL Playoffs Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos
Steelers vs. Broncos Location: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
Steelers vs. Broncos Date/Time: Sunday, January 8th, 4:30 p.m.
Steelers vs. Broncos Television Coverage: CBS

Click Here For The Rest Of The 2012 NFL Playoff Bracket And Other NFL Playoff Previews

Key #1: The Broncos can’t beat the Broncos
When Denver was winning games this year with QB Tim Tebow calling the shots, it was doing it by running the ball, playing good defense, making some plays on special teams, not turning the ball over, and not committing silly penalties. That is going to be the theme in this game once again. The Broncos just cannot make stupid mistakes in this game, and Head Coach John Fox knows it. Penalties have to be limited, the turnover count may have to read zero at the end of the game, and everyone on the team on every single play has to play smart. The talent is too overwhelming in black and gold for the Broncos to beat themselves, and they have to be the smarter of the two teams in this one to have a shot to win.

Steelers @ Broncos Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Pittsburgh Steelers -8.5
Denver Broncos +8.5
Over/Under 33.5
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Key #2: The Steelers need to make sure that they don’t get away from their game plan
The Broncos know that they have to keep this game in the 20s in all likelihood to be able to win it. The Steelers might have to do the exact same thing. All too often, the running game for Denver has baited other teams into getting out of their game plan. The Steelers absolutely cannot afford to get away from their plan, or they are going to be in a heck of a fight. QB Ben Roethlisberger can’t put the ball in the air 40 times in this game, and the offense can’t start to panic if all of a sudden, there are a few drives when RB Isaac Redman can’t run the ball. Redman is going to be in for a tall task against an improving Denver defense, especially since in all likelihood, he is going to be the only back in this game that has any sort of experience for the Steelers. RB Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL and is out for the year, RB Jonathan Dwyer is also on IR, and RB Mewelde Moore has a knee injury that is likely going to keep him on the sidelines.


Key #3: The opportunities will be there, so Tim Tebow has to make the passing game count
In one of the big time games of the year for the Broncos, they beat up the Kansas City Chiefs. Tebow only threw the ball eight times that whole game. He is going to have to do more than that in this one. The Steelers are just too stout up front in their front seven to allow gaping holes in the middle of the defense, and generally, they are too fast to run outside as well. That being said, we have seen some success against this defense on the ground at times, but it won’t happen without at least the threat of the passing game. Tebow only completed 46.5 percent of his passes this year, which was easily the lowest mark in the NFL, and he is going to have to prove that he can make some of the big time throws on third and long. It’s not going to take an elite 300 yard passing day, but Tebow is at least going to have to make some plays with his arm down the field. If the field can’t be stretch further than that, what we are going to see is the same type of result that we saw when the Steelers beat up the New England Patriots several months ago. The only reason that game was close is because QB Tom Brady still has the ability to do some great things even without a deep threat receiver on the field. Tim Tebow is no Tom Brady.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 8th, 2012 @ 6:49 am (EST)
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