Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers At Denver Broncos
- QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger is one of the most unique quarterbacks in the league. He has the size and strength to shake off a big hit, slide to the outside and buy time and then make a big play.Peyton Manning gets a chance to write a new chapter in his career with the Broncos. While he must show he can take the abuse that comes with playing the position, he is a huge upgrade for the Broncos over Tim Tebow.
- OffenseThe Steelers want to run the ball with Rashard Mendenhall, but he won’t be back from his torn ACL until midseason. Mike Wallace can break the long one at any time while Antonio Brown knows how to get open.The Broncos have some workable tools on offense. Hard-working Willis McGahee, can punish a defense when he lowers his shoulder. Demaryius Thomas is the big-play receiver while Eric Decker can make the possession catch.
- DefenseYou can count on the Steelers to have one of the best defensive units in the league under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Steelers have Troy Polamalu to run the secondary and underrated Ziggy Hood on the defensive line.Elvis Dumervil can pressure the quarterback from the defensive end slot and Von Miller can do the same. Champ Bailey is still one of the best cover men in the league.
- Special TeamsThe Steelers got a big boost from Antonio Brown in the return game as he averaged 27.3 yards per kickoff return and 10.3 yards per punt return. Shaun Suisham has a strong leg for kickoffs but struggles on field goals.Matt Prater was the best kickoff man in the league last year, but he gets a boost because he kicks in Denver. His field goal kicking was ordinary and so was the Broncos’ return game.
Circumstances have changed dramatically since the Steelers’ season ended in Denver in the wild-card playoff game, but this game is still important. The Steelers want revenge while the Broncos want to see that Manning can play a regular-season game without getting hurt.