Pittsburgh may be soaring after defeating Cincy, but Denver can potentially bring them crashing right back down to earth at Sports Authority Field at Mile High this Sunday. This game will push both teams to breaking point, as the big one looms. However, there are ways in which the Broncos can beat the Steelers.
They know Pittburgh’s weak spots
Ok, so Ben Roethlisberger was the only quarterback the Broncos faced this season who topped 300 yards passing (380). Meanwhile Antonio Brown burned the Broncos for 189 yards receiving in the Steelers’ December 20 win. BUT against a questionable Pittsburgh secondary, the Broncos have a plan that has worked before. Remember that before halftime, Pittsburgh was behind. Brock Osweiler had 214 yards passing, with three touchdowns. This time, if Peyton Manning gets enough protection, he’ll probably find a way to work against the Steelers’ defense. Pittsburgh may have finished third in the league in sacks, but they were 30th against the pass, allowing 271.9 passing yards per game. Plus, Big Ben and Brown’s injuries potentially puts the Steelers in a less-than-ideal position.
A clever person once said that defense travels. He didn't say that for no reason. If the team had rock solid defense in the playoffs, it can catapult them into the title game. In 2013, Denver entered the playoffs as the highest-scoring team in league history after a 606-point output, but they lost the Super Bowl by 35 points because offense was off-key. Let's face it - we know defense has fuelled the team this season – first in pass defense, first in sacks, fewest yards allowed per play/per rush/per pass, fourth in scoring defense and third in run defense. Defense scored five touchdowns. Imagine what will happen if there's reliable turnover-free offense! It happened before, and when it did, they dominated.
They've passed so many tests
The Broncos have faced some challenging times (what an understatement), and overcome them. Mostly due to injuries in the offensive line, the team has been forced to play those hardcore games we typically see in the postseason. The Broncos were 9-3 in games decided by seven or less points, and they defeated the Vikings, the Bengals and the Patriots – which are all division winners. Two of those wins were extra special, coming in overtime.
So, can the Broncos defeat the Steelers this weekend? It's entirely possible.