The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers have begun preparations for this Sunday’s divisional matchup. What participated and who did not? We take a look at both teams.
The Elite Eight. I know that is a NCAA Basketball term, but the NFL is now down to the final eight teams in the playoffs. After some Wild Card action, four teams went home and now the four teams from that round will play the top two teams in the respective conferences.
With the Broncos drawing the No. 1 seed, they get to play the lowest seed that remained in the AFC. That team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a grueling 60 minutes against their AFC North rivals, the Steelers come to Denver for a Week 15 rematch.
The biggest storyline coming from this divisional matchup is the injuries. And we are going to dive right into it. We will start with the visiting team.
On Wednesday’s injury report, the names, injuries, and practice status is below.
QB Ben Roethlisberger: Right Shoulder: DNP
WR Antonio Brown: Concussion: DNP
RB DeAngelo Williams: Foot: DNP
DE Cameron Heyward: Back: DNP
LB Ryan Shazier: Knee: DNP
LB James Harrison: NIR: DNP
S Robert Golden: Shoulder: LIMITED
RB Will Johnson: Hamstring: LIMITED
LB Vince Williams: Hamstring: LIMITED
Of course, the biggest ones are Big Ben and Antonio Brown. There have been reports left and right that states that the following players will either play or not play. The fact that both did not participate on Wednesday puts them on the wrong side of playing thus far.
Not only are the Steelers banged up on offense, the defense has some injuries as well. Cameron Heyward and Ryan Shazier missed practice with back and knee problems respectfully. However, it maybe too early to tell at this point. I fully expect them to increase the workload on Thursday.
As far as the other injuries, I expect the limited players to try to move to full participation. As far as James Harrison is concerned, he should return to practice in full on Thursday.
As for the Broncos, their injury report is a bit longer, but looking more positive than negative.
LB Von Miller: Illness: DNP
OG Robert Myers: Illness: DNP
QB Brock Osweiler: Knee: DNP
CB Chris Harris Jr.: Shoulder: LIMITED
DE Malik Jackson: Illness: LIMITED
S Darian Stewart: Hamstring: LIMITED
LB Demarcus Ware: Knee: LIMITED
TE Owen Daniels: Knee: FULL
LB Todd Davis: Shoulder: FULL
OG Max Garcia: Groin: FULL
QB Peyton Manning: Foot: FULL
LB Brandon Marshall: Ankle: FULL
S T.J. Ward: Ankle: FULL
Most of the players that are big pieces for the Broncos participated on a limited basis at the very least. Von Miller was sent home with an illness, one of three players who popped up on the report with illnesses. Expect all three of them to return at the earliest tomorrow.
The two players that most fans were focused in on was the status of Chris Harris Jr. and Darian Stewart. Both men returned on a limited basis today. Kubiak even expects them to be a full participant on Thursday.
As far the injuries are concerned, it is looking pretty good for the Broncos. Not so well for the Steelers. But we shall see how Thursday’s practices go. In the mean time, keep up with us here at Predominantly Orange as we get you set for divisional weekend.