|Written by Bishop Whitmore|
|Sunday, 08 January 2012 12:08|
After the Falcons and Giants do battle in NFC wild card picks with New York being favored by a field-goal, the AFC bracket will feature its defending champion taking on a Tim Tebow team that has gone 0-3 to end the season. In one of the most anticipated match-ups of the postseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers head out west to take on the Denver Broncos at 4:30pm EST on CBS from Sports Authority Field at Mile High. NFL playoff predictions in Vegas and at offshore sportsbooks have listed "Steeler Nation" as 8-point road favorites the Broncos with the over/under total is listed at a low scoring 34. The NFL betting moneyline also heavily favors Pittsburgh at -380 while Denver would return a little more than 3/1 at +310 on a $100 wager. The Steelers will enter Sunday's game on CBS having recently gone 6-1 to finish the season 12-4 overall while the Broncos have lost three straight to finish with an even 8-8 mark on the year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most feared teams in the playoffs this season but not because of a potent offense but instead a potent defense that ranked in the top 10 this season for opponent passing and rushing yards. With a "terrible towel" defense that held foes to only 171.9-passing yards (1st) and 99.8-rushing yards (8th) per game this year, it's easy to see why NFL playoff predictions heavily favor the Steelers. The only chink in the yellow and black armor heading into wild card picks as betting favorites is the injuries on offense to QB Ben Roethlisberger, C Maurkice Pouncey and RB Rashard Mendenhall. Roethlisberger is still nursing a sprained ankle suffered in the Cleveland Browns game back in week 14 while Pouncey will be missing from the offensive line with the same injury. Mendenhall is done for the season with a torn ACL suffered in last week's win over the Browns and will be replaced by RB's Issac Redman and rookie John Clay. NFL playoffs odds and handicapping trends for the Steelers vs Broncos have Pittsburgh recently going 5-3 when playing on the road, 9-1 when playing in January and 8-2 when playing on grass.
Having won six straight games and maybe a little "divine intervention," the Denver Broncos find themselves back in the playoffs after a "miraculous" resurgence under quarterback Tim Tebow. The Broncos started the season going 2-5 which allowed the former Heisman Trophy winner a shot at having the starting job and the team responded by going 6-0 heading into week 15. The "Tebowmania" quickly calmed however after a 23-41 home beating by the New England Patriots, a 14-40 road loss to the Buffalo Bills and a 3-7 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That being said, the Broncos clinched the AFC West division are in the playoffs with the Oakland Raiders losing to the San Diego Chargers last week. As with most games since Tebow has got behind center, the key to a Broncos upset on Sunday will be his arm. Tebow has thrown four interceptions and fumbled twice in the last two games and is coming off a horrible performance vs Kansas City throwing 6/22 for 60-yards and 1-INT. RB Willis McGahee has carried most of the offensive load rushing for 1,199-yards during the regular season and will need a similar performance if John Elway's team is to make it out of the first round. Steelers vs Broncos trends have Denver recently going 3-5 at home, 4-2 in the series vs Pittsburgh and 2-8 when playing in January.
Wild Card Picks: Steelers -8
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4 SU, 7-9 ATS) vs Denver Broncos (8-8 SU, 7-8-1 ATS)
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 16:47|