Denver, CO. The preseason games are in the books, the calendar pages have now flipped to September, and this of course means one thing. It’s Denver Broncos season, and the 2012 journey led by Peyton Manning is officially about to begin. The countdown to the regular season is now really underway, as every team throughout the NFL is in preparations for the next four months or so. When the schedule was released back in April, truthfully for any Denver fan one game had to stand out, and it was the matchup that kicks off the season, Broncos vs Steelers. For literally months now, this game has been chock full of anticipation, with storylines galore. How will Peyton Manning look after a year off, and in his new city and new colors? Can Pittsburgh avenge its stunning upset loss back in January, and give Denver a taste of some payback? Will either team bust out of the gates in week one and look like a strong AFC contender for the Super Bowl? These and many other questions will be answered, as fans of both teams and the entire National Football League will be watching this coming Sunday on national TV.
It is just one game, and although there will be 15 more throughout the fall and winter for each, this game between Denver and Pittsburgh could have lasting effects for both as the season progresses. For anyone who has seen the Broncos schedule, it is a gauntlet of landmines, especially in the first half of the year. A win in week one to get off to a strong start is unusually important for Denver this year, because simply put, they can’t afford to put themselves in an early season hole. Can they lose to Pittsburgh and still have a good year? Sure. A loss would not necessarily ruin anything for 2012. However, with games against Atlanta, Houston, and Oakland in September, not to mention matchups with New England, San Diego and New Orleans in October, a strong start would do wonders for a Broncos team with several new players in key positions. A victory this Sunday has the potential of giving this team a ton of confidence as they battle through the early season grind. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, wants to show that they don’t have any lasting effects from their last trip to Denver eight months ago. The Steelers were favored to win that playoff game, but in shocking fashion, were bounced from the playoffs after just one Broncos offensive play. If Pittsburgh comes out this Sunday and lays an egg, or simply just loses the game in any way, the stench of another loss to Denver could stick with them for many weeks as the season goes along. Just like every other NFL team, winning in the first week of the regular season is the perfect way to begin the year. But for the Broncos and Steelers, it may end up foreshadowing how the rest of 2012 will end up for them both.
Denver Sports by J Simp