On the other hand our Broncos finished the year with a 8-8 record and lost their previous three games to enter the playoffs. (Note that the Texans also finished the year with three loses and that the Saints also did this then won a Superbowl) In recent weeks we have struggled to move the ball and have had too many turnovers. But this is the playoffs! What happens in the regular season really means nothing now (it is a good foundation to build off though). We have been invited to the dance and it is up to us to rise to the occasion. Two teams play and only one can win, 50-50, I like those odds. Now it is up to the Broncos to.....TAAAKKKKE IIIIIITTT!
There is some bad blood (mainly between the fans) between these two teams even though they don't play that often. The main reason for this is the fact that the Steelers some how manage to fill out Mile High with their own fans. Hopefully the Broncos ticket holders will hold onto their tickets and show up in force. (Why don't we ban the terrible towel at the ground?) The other reason is like I said before these two have been known to knock one another out of the playoffs.
Match UpsFirst we have to look at the Defense and the task that is ahead of them. The Steelers have a good receiving core with a nice amount of speed. The three main targets are Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and Antonio Brown. Wallace I think will be Champ's assignment for this week. Champ needs to limit the big pass to Wallace. (The Steelers love the play action, go deep pass) I am a little worried about Ward, he doesn't have much left and isn't a threat to take it all the way but Chris Harris will have his hands full covering him. If I am correct Ward plays the slot with Wallace and Brown on the outside or does he rotate around with Brown (probably both). That leaves Goodman and Brown. I am most worried about this match up as Goodman has struggled with speedy receivers that can get behind him. I expect to see Goodman give a big cushion and a lot of short passes completed in front of him.
With Mendenhall out with an knee injury it will fall to the backups to carry the load. I watched the Browns-Steelers game last week while I was watching the Broncos game. (It was on locate TV while I was on the computer) I got to say I was impressed with Redman. He seemed to keep plugging away and picking up nice yardage. I do think we can stop the Steelers run game but the D-Line will need to be physical going up against a good Steelers line. Mays also needs to be physical and a force in the run game because he can't cover. Miller if you play on run downs make sure to set the edge correctly.
Now for the offense, oh our lonely offense.
For our running backs I want more of the same. McGahee needs to carry this offense but I would like to see him get into the endzone. I has still want to see more from Johnson, he seems electric with the football, like last week I would like to see him get 5-10 carries and spell McGahee not Ball.
It is a bummer Larsen is out because he has some skills when used correctly. Look at last week he goes up makes a catch and holds onto the ball even with his legs are getting destroyed in the process. Larsen is a keeper. The question is who will replace him? Are we going to active Sylvester for the game?
Now for the wide outs and tight ends. This is the most IMPORTANT part of the preview for me. What I want to see or the game plan for me (even if it is only for the first series) is that we go 5 wide. From the shot gun go 5 wide. With 4 WRs and a TE or 3 WRs and 2 TEs. Some have said use Quinn to pass, change it up, the Steelers won't expect it. What the Steelers won't expect is the Broncos go 5 wide with no running back, we are a running team after all. This is also how the Packers beat the Steelers to win a Superbowl (Also was what the Broncos did against the Falcons in Superbowl 33 to completely throw them off as they thought TD was coming) and it is the reason the Broncos may win. With Ryan Clark ruled out for this game (and happens to be the better cover safety) this doesn't allow for Polamalu to roam the field. It also means that a backup safety will be playing. So spread them out and attack the third and fourth string CBs or the backup safety. Doing this we can create a number of mismatches in the passing game and get guys like Ninja Willis and Royal more involved. Plus if we move Decker inside every now and then it will help him get off the line clean and make some plays. Also if we were ever going to use TEs this would be the game for it as they can create mismatches against the Steelers linebackers in the 3-4. This idea has worked before and I think it would work for the Broncos.
The key to it's success though is on Tebow. But this should also free up the receivers, get them more open for some easy completions to hopefully get Tebow in a rhythm. I see a lot of benefit from it.
Now for Tebow himself. Tebow needs to grow a pair for this one. He needs to flat out start balling if the Broncos want to win. Complete passes and don't turn the ball over, that is all I ask. 50% completion rate and no turnovers. If he can do this I think we can win. Plus I am still waiting for that break out game.
Special Teams, the one area I haven't mentioned before. Prater, Colquitt....more of the same please. As for the coverage teams just do your jobs and maintain good field position. I can now breathe a sigh of relief because McCarthy is no longer on our team.
PredictionThe main part, who do I think is going to win. If you had been following I have been saying all week if Dawkins plays we will win, if Dawkins can play all the remaining games of the year we will win the Superbowl (you heard it here first). The reason I think this is because of two reason. The only real difference from the team that won 6 straight then lost 3 in a row is, One we were missing Dawkins and Two we had no heart, desire or emotion. It is surprising how much Dawkins means to this team and the way he lifts our whole team and not just the defense. It is what we have lacked in recent weeks. That edge, the want to go above and beyond. Remember on this Broncos team their is not one player than Dawkins who wants to win a Superbowl more. He knows his time is almost up and he is trying his hardest to will this team to greatest. Him combined with Tebow have pushed this team to it's limits. When both are playing we are 7-0 without we are 1-8. (Dawkins didn't finish the game against the Bills?) Even if Dawkins does or doesn't play I still need to give a prediction. This game I think will be surprisingly close, probably in the teens. But I say 20-17 Broncos win it late.
Fun Facts» Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller combined for 21 sacks this season.
» The Steelers put up 161 yards rushing in Cleveland. Expect Isaac Redman (92 yards) to get the ball often with Rashard Mendenhall's knee injury.
» These two teams last met in the playoffs in the 2005 AFC Championship. The Broncos were the two seed, but were bested by the sixth-seeded Steelers, 34-17.
Injury ReportBrian Dawkins (S), Neck, DNP
Spencer Larsen (FB), Knee, DNP
Eddie Royal (WR), Toe, DNP
David Bruton (S), Achilles, Limited
Von Miller (LB), Thumb, Full
James Harrison (LB), Toe, DNP
Brett Kiesel (DE), Groin, DNP
Cortez Allen (CB), Shoulder, DNP
Mewelde Moore (RB), Knee, DNP
Ben Roethlisberger (QB), Ankle, Limited
Markice Pouncey (C), Ankle, Limited
Doug Legursky (G), Shoulder, Full
LaMarr Woodley (LB), Hamstring, Full
Other NewsThe Broncos have made a number of moves lately. Here they are:
Kyle McCarthy S was cut.
Brian Iwuh, RLB was signed to the roster.
Ryan Harris, ROT, was signed to the roster.
DL Jeremy Jarmon was signed to a future contract.
Signed DB Ramzee Robinson to a future contract
Placed G Chris Kuper on injured reserve
LadiesThese were the 'untouched' ladies I could find :P
JokesI found this picture and I lol'ed haha, too funny.
That is it from me, time to shock the world, Go BRONCOS! ~ Aussie.