By, Adam Miller
The second round of the playoff weekend is upon us and there’s a lot to be excited about. Nearly every game this season is predicted to be relatively close and very entertaining. However, none may be more important and entertaining than the Steelers against the Broncos. These two teams have played of one the most entertaining games this season. The Steelers were losing 27-0 at the end of the first half, but were able to amass an unbelievable comeback and won 34-27.
This past weekend was just as much of a nail biter for the Steelers as they faced their division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs. If not for the late game penalties on Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell may not have had the opportunity to kick the game winning field.
Nevertheless, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to defeat the Bengals and now look to square off against the Denver Broncos. For the Steelers to win they will need a lot to go their way. Here are the Steelers Key’s to Success.
- Ben Roethlisberger’s Health
- Big Ben Roethlisberger is widely known for the “iron man” reputation he has built over his career. This year, it has been quite the opposite. Roethlisberger suffered an MCL sprain against St. Louis causing him to miss four games. Next, he hurt sprained his foot against the Raiders and after that he dealt with a concussion. This past weekend the Pittsburgh quarterback suffered a “significant” shoulder injury against the Steelers. Although, he did re-enter the game after suffering it he was unable to throw any deep passes. Obviously, this is crucial for the team’s success in their upcoming game. It’s no secret that when Roethlisberger is healthy he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Steelers will need to capitalize on every opportunity on every opportunity on offense because they will not fare well in a defensive shoot out. If Ben can come out and play well, I like the Steelers chances.
- Will Antonio Brown Play?
- Arguably the best wide receiver in the league may not suit up for the Steelers this Sunday. Antonio Brown, like Roethlisberger, suffered an injury this past weekend. Towards the latter part of last week’s game Brown was illegally hit in the head and knocked him unconscious. If Brown can not play the Steelers will be losing their most dangerous threat on offense. Last time he faced the Denver Broncos he put up video game like numbers. 16 receptions, 189 yards and two touchdowns. This season, he has 136 receptions, 1,834 yards and 10 touchdown. If those stats alone do not speak for the production of Antonio Brown, take the NFL players word for it. The players voted Antonio Brown the 8th best player in the entire NFL this past season. If Brown can not play against the Broncos, the Steelers will be missing one of the best players in the NFL.
- Peyton Manning
- Once regarded as the greatest quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning, is now a shell of his old self. Manning, now 39, has had his worst season this year. He posted a mere nine touchdown passes with 17 interceptions. Earlier this season, he torn his plantar fascia muscle in his foot causing him to miss six weeks which some attribute to his poor play. For the Steelers, this is a best case scenario. Pittsburgh has a weak defense and playing a struggling Manning will most definitely benefit them. The weakest part of their defense is their secondary. A slew of no name players like Ross Cockrell, Antwon Blake and Robert Golden have mightily struggled this season. If Manning can not be effective throwing the ball during the game, CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will have the difficult task of running against a Pittsburgh top 10 rush defense.
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