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Steelers

vs.

Broncos

Divisional Playoffs Pick

1/17/16

The Denver Broncos will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last Divisional playoff game of the weekend on Sunday in a game that kicks off at 4:40 pm est. There are many places that still haven't posted a line on this game due to the injuries on both teams. The books that do have numbers posted either have the Broncos favored by -7.5 or -8. The total is 38.5

The big story will be injuries. We all know about Roethlisberger and the hit he took last week where it was very evident he could NOT throw the ball downfield when he came back into the game. How healthy the shoulder will be this week remains to be seen. You can be sure that shoulder will have a bulls eye on it though and likely won't feel too good by games end.

We also all know about Peyton Manning and his return from injury. While his foot may be healthy, there were questions about his arm right from the get go this year. So we have a game between two super star QB's, both likely to have difficulty with the long ball.

The injuries don't stop at QB. As of Friday, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown and Running Back DeAngelo Williams are listed as doubtful. One can never tell though. Either could play. Or neither could play. Either way, they won't be 100% and injuries will likely play a role in the outcome this week.

Ultimately, when you handicap a game like this, you want both teams at full strength. We don't have that here, so our selection will be simply an opinion. Nothing strong.

Both teams can play some defense. Both are very good against the run but it's the pass defense where the Broncos would appear to have the edge. Their pass defense ranks #1 in the NFL while the Steelers pass defense ranks 28th.

Manning may not be able to connect deep but his ability to control a game with the short pass remains 2nd to none. This should be a low scoring game but ultimately we feel the Broncos offense has more of a shot to find the end zone than the Steelers offense does. We think the Broncos defense shuts down Pittsburgh completely here. Something along the lines of 20-10......17-7.....you get the idea.

For the record, our model, using full season data, has the predicted score at 20-20, which would suggest taking the points. But remember, neither of these teams has been intact all season. Different QB's, etc. So the data becomes somewhat unreliable in this spot. We'll lay the extra juice to get -7. Broncos -7 -125

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