Now that the Denver Broncos schedule has been released, we are going to take a game-by-game look at the regular season that the Broncos have in front of them.
The Denver Broncos kickoff their season the same way that they ended their 2011 campaign at home. They host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night football in what is sure to be another hyped matchup.
It’s always helpful to open the season at home with a loud and proud crowd to welcome in the new season.
The Steelers went 12-4 in 2011, winning their last six of their last seven. That incredible season was cut short much sooner than anyone expected when the Broncos pulled off a 29-23 win in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.
Ben Roethlisberger and Co. must have had Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas related dreams all offseason as it was their 80-yard pass play on the first play in overtime to give the Broncos the ‘W’ and the right to move on to play the New England Patriots.
The Steelers finished their 2011 campaign ranked 22nd on offense (14th in rushing, 10th in passing). Their bread and butter, however, was their defense. They were first overall allowing just 14.2 points per game. They were 8th in rush defense and 1st in pass defense.
There’s no better test for Peyton Manning as he begins his career in orange and blue and a different kind of horseshoe.
The Steelers have been terribly quiet in free agency, but that’s nothing new. They do most of their damage in the draft. The team has only signed one free agent thus far – backup tight end Leonard Pope.
Early Prediction: Broncos – 27 Steelers – 21. Defenses tend to lag behind in the early part of the season. They are slower to read fast-paced offenses again and conditioning for some players can be an issue. The Broncos offense needs to use the altitude to their advantage. This is a game that the Broncos offense needs to speed things up so that the Steelers slow down. The home crowd and a Manning led offense will get this team off to a 1-0 start.
Steelers leaders in 2011:
Ben Roethlisberger – 324-for-513 (63.2%), 4,077 passing yards, 21 TDs, 14 INTs.
Rashard Mendenhall – 928 yards (61.9 per game), 9 TDs, 1 Fumble
Mike Wallace – 72 receptions, 1,193 yards, 8 TDs, 1 Fumble
Ryan Clark – 100 tackles
Troy Polamalu, William Gay, Ike Taylor – 2 INTs a piece
LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison – 9 sacks a piece