Denver, CO. The NFL season is now officially underway, and a full slate of week one games is now just hours away. Although there are several juicy matchups this coming Sunday and Monday, the cream of the crop and the most eagerly anticipated game would undoubtedly be the Denver Broncos versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. We don’t really have to go into why this matchup will have all of America watching, as any NFL fan should know by now. The bottom line is, anyone who follows the National Football League will have to tune in to see how this one shakes out, with storylines aplenty. With both the Broncos and the Steelers wanting to obviously get off to a 1-0 start in 2012, both teams have some question marks heading into this year. Sunday night will answer a lot of these questions, but several factors point to the Denver Broncos coming out on top in the season opener. Here are the 7 reasons why Peyton Manning will start his stay in Denver with a victory…..
1 – Mile High Emotion - Think the crowd at Sports Authority Field will be rockin slightly come Sunday night? Yep, pretty sure it’s gonna be extra loud. It may even make long-time fans remember the old Mile High Stadium and how insanely loud it used to get there. Broncos fans will have all day to get juiced up and tailgate for this one, as Ben Roethlisberger should have plenty of trouble running the offense due to 75,000+ fans letting him have it.
2 – No Ryan Clark - The outstanding safety will again not make the trip to Denver because of his altitude sensitivity. Clark carries the sickle-cell trait, so playing in Denver is simply not an option. This is a huge loss for the Steelers defense, and one that obviously had an impact last January as well. Facing Peyton Manning without a key defensive starter spells some trouble for the Steelers pass defense.
3 – A Limited Mike Wallace - The speedy wide receiver just recently reported to camp after holding out, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has stated that Wallace will only be in the game for select plays. He has the ability to really stretch a defense, so the fact that he won’t be in there all of the time helps the Broncos immensely.
4 – Pittsburgh Offensive Line Issues - Pittsburgh thought it had some serious help on the O-line this year from rookie David DeCastro, but in their preseason game a few weeks ago at Buffalo, he unfortunately tore up his knee. His loss is a big one, as the Steelers struggled all year in 2011 protecting Ben Roethlisberger. Ben could have a long night dealing with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
5 – Steelers Questionable Running Game - Although it is pretty amazing that Rashard Mendenhall may actually play in this game just nine months after tearing his ACL, counting on him to be productive at all is another story entirely. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer should get most of the work, but neither have the talent or speed that Mendenhall does. The way to beat the Broncos in recent years has been to beat them on the ground, but Pittsburgh doesn’t appear to be able to do that right now.
6 – Denver Broncos Confidence - Denver knows they can beat Pittsburgh. They just did it in a playoff game 8 months ago, and that was without #18 under center dissecting the Steelers D. The Broncos will be overflowing with confidence, and not just hoping to win, but expecting to win this one. With a brutal first half of the year schedule, Denver knows it needs to get off to a strong start and begin the year 1-0.
7 – Peyton Manning - It’s been 20 months since Manning played a meaningful NFL game, and all of his work to get back begins to mean something this Sunday. He has to be motivated to not only prove that he is all the way back from several neck surgeries, but to prove to John Elway and Broncos fans that they didn’t make a mistake by signing him. Peyton is one of the most driven athletes in the history of the NFL, and he will undoubtedly be ready to carve up the Pittsburgh defense on national TV.
- There should be plenty of action in this one, as Pittsburgh won’t go down without a fight. In the end though, too much Peyton and too much Orange Crush D pressuring Big Ben……Denver Broncos 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 21……
Denver Sports by J Simp