Why You Should Bet on the Broncos to Defeat the Steelers
With the Pittsburgh Steelers heading to Denver for the divisional round of the playoffs, one of the hottest topics is how Peyton Manning will fare in his return to action. In Week 17, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak summoned Manning from the bench to bring what he termed a “spark” to the game, as Denver was trailing San Diego. While Manning’s numbers weren’t great, he did lead a couple of important drives to help the Broncos seal the comeback win, 27-20, and so he is the starter this week. Let’s take a closer look at why betting on Denver is a good idea.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 14, 2016
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Why Should You Bet on the Broncos Over the Steelers
Having Manning running the offense is one of the best reasons why you should pick Denver to win this matchup. In the wild card round, all four games went to the team that had the quarterback with greater playoff experience. This week, Manning’s experience will help him guide the Broncos to a victory, and a berth in the AFC Championship game next week.
If you need some convincing, let’s consider the Steelers’ secondary last week, as they faced Bengal backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. It’s true that the Steelers shut the Bengals out through three quarters, but Bengal coach Marvin Lewis was running an extremely conservative offense up to that point in the game. When the fourth quarter began, with the Bengals down 15-0, Lewis made the offense more aggressive, and it paid dividends. McCarron underthrew a bomb — but it didn’t matter, because the Steelers were flagged for pass interference. Manning should be looking for Demaryius Thomas down the field several times this week.
How about checkdowns? McCarron used Jeremy Hill masterfully with the short pass, and C.J. Anderson is an even better checkdown option for Manning to use. So what’s the key? The Steelers do have a solid pass rush, so the Broncos will need to give Manning protection. If he has time, he will find openings in a Steeler secondary that has been, to be kind, porous this year.
Now, let’s look at some of the Steelers’ problems. They start with Ben Roethlisberger, who has two torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder. He did lead the Steelers on that game-winning drive, but he was not able to do much more than dump the ball off. On the play where the Bengals committed two idiotic penalties to give the Steelers 30 yards of field position, Roethlisberger did throw a 15-yard route, but the ball wasn’t close to his receiver. Whether it’s Roethlisberger or Landry Jones at quarterback this week, the Broncos’ defense should feast.