Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) signals during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
For the upcoming Steelers vs Broncos NFL Playoff game, the staff writing team of The Jet Press weighed in their thoughts.
Even though the NY Jets are out of the NFL Playoffs, we here at The Jet Press are just as excited as many football fans are for the postseason. With teams heading into the Divisional Round weekend, this promises to be another exciting round of playoff football.
The Steelers are pretty banged up right now and heading to Denver to face a team ready to make a return to the Super Bowl. With quarterback Peyton Manning back under center, there is no telling how far the Broncos can go with their gunslinger back and most importantly, healthy.
Here are some predictions by the staff writing team of The Jet Press for what should be a solid game between the Steelers and Broncos.
Next: Broncos will easily win
Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) comes onto the field to replace quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) (not pictured) along side of center Matt Paradis (61) and center Max Garcia (73) and tackle Tyler Polumbus (76) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
One couldn’t have painted a better picture for the Broncos heading back into the NFL Playoffs. Many thought Manning would be done after this season then out of nowhere, he’s back where he belongs and does everything in his power to continue the momentum for his team.
A healthy Manning that is determined to silence his critics can be very dangerous in the playoffs. There is no reason why they can’t be efficient and truly dominate against the Steelers who are dealing with many injuries heading into this match-up. The Broncos should easily win at home.
Broncos win 35, 20
Next: Broncos will win at home
Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Owen Daniels (81) reacts during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos will win at home Jason Rodriguez: Twitter
The Steelers come into the week banged up with Deangelo Williams, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger all injured. Williams and Brown are very questionable in playing in the game on Sunday as time will tell what their roles will be. Denver has the best defense in the league in their pass and run coverage.
It will be interesting also to see if Roethlisberger can make the deep ball throws because he is playing with torn ligaments and a sprained AC joint in his throwing arm. The Broncos must keep Manning protected because it will be crucial for him to play as he still isn’t 100% from his injuries but close to it.
For the Steelers, it will be crucial to get contributions from Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton on offense and on defense Ryan Shazier and Cameron Heyward. If these three key players for the Steelers are unable to play then it will be a blowout. It is also hard to play in that field as many opposing teams have struggled when they have played in Sports Authority field.
Next: Broncos will rout Steelers
Dec 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) celebrates his fumble recovery to win the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
As much as I want to select the Pittsburgh Steelers, the underdogs, to win this game, I just cannot. It has been leaked that not only is Roethlisberger nursing a separation in his throwing shoulder, but torn ligaments as well. We all know he is a tough competitor, always willing to go to battle with his team, but this injury is very serious and very painful.
Also, the Steelers will be without Antonio Brown which proves that he was right amidst all the controversy last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers are also without their top running backs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, so it will be difficult for them to rely on their running game for any kind of spark.
With the injury to Roethlisberger, Brown officially out, Pittsburgh’s depleted running game and regardless of Manning’s condition, coupled with the Denver Broncos’ lights-out, one-of-the-best-in-the-league defenses, Pittsburgh will be over matched in this game. The score will not even be close.
Next: Steelers won't beat Broncos
Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Steelers won’t beat Broncos Christopher Stephano: Twitter
Despite all the bungles made by the Bengals, the Steelers nevertheless showed grit and toughness in their 18-16 comeback win in Cincinnati.
However, their playoff run will end in Denver. The Steelers are simply too beaten up to contend with the Broncos’ fierce defense. Antonio Brown will most likely sit out the game, and Ben Roethlisberger will be playing at far less than 100%.
Barring an atrocious return game by Peyton Manning, the Broncos should have no problem advancing to the AFC Championship game.
Final: Broncos 28, Steelers 17
Next: Broncos' defense will annihilate Steelers
Dec 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) celebrates the game winning fumble recovery in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos will annihilate Steelers Todd Gerstenhaber: Twitter
If Roethlisberger plays, then chalk this up as another bye week for the Broncos. A gimpy Big Ben who couldn’t throw beyond 15 yards was more trusted to lead a game-winning drive than a guy who put up big numbers in a pass-happy Oklahoma offense.
The Broncos also have a guy who has been in these spots before. You may have heard of a guy by the name of Peyton Manning, who is motivated by three things at the moment: re-establishing his position as an NFL starter, disproving the HGH rumors and adding another Super Bowl to his resume.
If Big Ben is healthy, then anything can happen in this game. The problem is, I don’t think Ben will be 100%, which will result in the Broncos defense having a field day.
Score: Broncos 30, Steelers 17
Next: Manning will be difference maker
Nov 15, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and tackle Ryan Harris (68) and wide receiver Andre Caldwell (12) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) and running back C.J. Anderson (22) huddle in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
And finally in the last Playoff match-up of the divisional round, another fortunate team or perhaps unfortunate with all the injuries sustained in the Wildcard round, the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the rejuvenized Denver Broncos led by inevitable Hall of Famer Peyton Manning who is on a mission to add another Super Bowl title to the collection, will be fully motivated to go in this one.
As long as Manning plays within himself and the Broncos’ defense continues to dominate, I see the Broncos putting a beating on the Steelers.
Broncos win 33-20.
Next: Manning will ride off in the sunset
Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) reacts following the win over the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Manning will ride off in the sunset Ryan Patti: Twitter
These two teams met in Week 15 at Heinz Field in a game that came down to the wire. The Broncos held a 14-point halftime lead and were shutout in the second half 21-0. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown put on an absolute show to rip apart Denver’s tremendous secondary. It may not happen this time around, but with a legend under center, anything is possible.
What gives the Broncos the advantage in this game is the legend THEY have under center. Peyton Manning is finally healthy. Pittsburgh’s defense caught a few breaks in the wild card matchup in Cincinnati (the weather being one of them) and it hid how suspect the unit truly is. Against an offense who takes good care of the football, things will be different.
Overall, you can expect the Steelers’ run to come to an end. With or without DeAngelo Williams, Denver is just too tough at home for Mike Tomlin’s group to consistently move the ball like they did in Week 15. Not to mention, things are lining up for ‘The Sheriff’ to ride off into the sunset.
Prediction: Broncos 27-20
Next: Steelers win a close one
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) scrambles with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Steelers win a close one Mark Kelly: Twitter
This is the 8th time these two teams will meet in the postseason and the 6th time they will have met in Denver. Denver holds a 4-3 advantage, including going 3-2 at home. No one can forget the last meeting when Tim Tebow won his one and only playoff game with a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime to send the Steelers home. Their regular season meeting also doesn’t mean that much because Brock Osweiler got the start over Peyton Manning in a game the Broncos were outscored 24-0 in the second half.
Obviously the Steelers injuries to both Roethlisberger and Brown play a huge part in picking this game,but Roethlisberger is expected to play. Peyton Manning is the Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine of the NFL, meaning incredible regular season stats, but his playoff record, especially at home, is very disappointing. I’m taking the Steelers to pull out a close one, 24-20.
Next: Steelers pull the upset
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Shamarko Thomas (29) and Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Steelers pull the upset Mike Valverde: Twitter
Roethlisberger should be ready to go while Brown is out. Manning will start and if he can be a shade of his former self. Steelers win 17-14 in the upset of the week.
Next: Broncos will be too much to handle for Steelers
Dec 28, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (8) reacts after missing a field goal attempt to win the game during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 20-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos will be too much to handle for Steelers Paul Harris: Twitter
We have the Steelers heading into Denver. We all saw the Bengals beat themselves last week as their undisciplined defense couldn’t finish the game. The Steelers though left this game with injuries to their top two players in Big Ben and Brown.
As of right now it looks like Roethlisberger will play but how far can he really go before he won’t be as effective like he’s been in the past? For this reason, I have to take Manning and the Broncos who are also fighting for their last Super Bowl run before he hangs it up and begins his wait to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
The Broncos’ offense is going to be too much for the Pittsburgh defense to handle, I expect D.T. and Emanual Sanders to have a day.
I have the Broncos winning 29-22.
Next: Broncos will snatch victory
Nov 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) and offensive coordinator Todd Haley (right) talk on the field before hosting the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos will snatch victory Steven Blush: Twitter
Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who learned under Bill Parcells as Jets 1999-2000 wide receivers coach, stands on the sidelines by Jets 2014 backup quarterback Michael Vick. Expect the Broncos, starting Mike Tannenbaum draft washout safety Josh Bush, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Next: Denver retaliates against Steelers
Nov 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans hold a defense sign during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos enter this game hoping for retaliation against the Pittsburgh Steelers who took the game in Week 15. This is also going to be the first week Peyton Manning takes starting position since Week 10.
The Broncos’ defense is ranked No. 1 in the league, and with Ben Roethlisberger banged up from last week’s game, the Broncos will pose a threat. The Broncos are 6-2 in their last eight home games against the Steelers, which offers the Broncos a slight advantage.
Both teams have unsure offensive outcomes. Antonio Brown is out while Roethlisberger remains probable. Manning will start but Brock Osweiler will be ready on the sidelines if Manning flops or re-injures.
I think this game will come down to the defense. The Broncos lead the league in sacks this season and their defense has outperformed all other teams. Denver will retaliate and take the win.