Coming off a sudden end to their undefeated record, the Broncos face a hungry Steelers team led by the league’s second most pass efficient quarterback in Ben Roethslisberger. Roethlisberger’s evolution from a pump fake quarterback with as many sacks as completions into a model franchise quarterback that can spread the offense while simultaneously spark the running game, balances the team’s offense. Denver has shown and proven that it is a force to be reckoned this season. Although their viewed as the underdog going into tonight’s matchup, they currently hold the home field advantage. With the exception of their sloppiness on the punt return, the change in air pressure isn’t the only thing the Steelers need to concern themselves with visiting the “Mile High City.” Two great defenses, only one can be victorious this Monday night.
1) Do Not Pass Go, Pass Roethlisberger – Emerging as pass efficient threat in the pocket, Ben Roethlisberger currently rounds out the league’s top three quarterbacks with a high pass to completion ration at 70.4%. What this translates into is a Steelers team that not only can historically run the ball but a team that can terrorize opponents whether by a short pass or on a long bomb as well.
2) On The Run – Although the Steelers have drastically improved on their passing game, Denver shouldn’t sleep on the Steelers on the drive as Pittsburgh still moves the ball quite well. On the flip side part of Denver’s success in achieving a 6-1 record can be attributed to rising star running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter ability to blow past opponents.
3) The Taking of Troy – Steelers safety, Troy Polamalu will be key to the Steeler’s defense. Coming off a knee injury, Troy has made some plays but still remains less than 100% in effectiveness. His ability to stop the run will be crucial especially with key injuries on the Steelers defensive line (Defensive end Travis Kirschke, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons and safety Ryan Clark). Will he show signs of the virtually unstoppable defense he has come to be feared and respected for?
4) Play Hard Or Go Home – Perhaps self-explanatory, the team that plays the hardest in this match up will reign victorious. The main factor influencing the Broncos loss to their Raves was their inability to play rough. Although their “finesse” style of play has been instrumental in their near flawless record heading into Week 9, the Steelers much like the Ravens will exploit this potential weakness early in the game, forcing the Broncos to play outside their “comfort zone.” Denver will have to get an early start and go toe for toe with the Steelers if they have any hopes of pulling away from a rough and tumble Pittsburgh defense infamous for wearing down less physical teams.
5) Take Care of The Ball – It’s always the small things that make the difference between a win and a loss. The Steelers failure to take care of the ball over the last few games hasn’t resulted in a loss however it can come back to haunt them if they aren’t careful.
Winner : Steelers
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