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Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: September 9, 2012 8:20 p.m. EST.
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Pit +1.5/Den -1.5
Over/Under Total: 45
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Steelers fans are crazy excited for opening weekend of the NFL. After last seasons depressing loss at Denver under direction of Tim Tebow, the Pitt faithful now seek revenge and this time they gotta go through Mr. Peyton Manning. It is never easy opening at Mile High but if any team can be a spoiler it is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Mike Tomlin and company will be business as usual on Sunday night; the all familiar cast of QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Mike Wallace (granted he is cleared to play) and Antonio Brown should be more than enough for the Broncos defense.
Certainly the Steelers will look to establish the run as they are accustomed to doing, however running back Rashard Mendenhall will not be ready for Sundays game as he is recovering from his torn ACL which will bench him for the first few games of the season. Isaac Redman will replace Mendenhall but this likely means Big Ben will pass a bit more, or even lumber for yardage on his own. Roethlisberger can take a lickin and keep on tickin (sorry, had to go clich) but this may be the difference between QBs as Manning might literally crack if he gets hit too oftennot that I want the future Hall of Famer to get hurt but the concern is real especially with a history of neck injury.
Defensively, both teams have playmakers and experience. The Steelers will return all world secondary player Troy Polamalu and unassuming defensive lineman Ziggy Hood as well as linebacker, James Harrison, but Harrison probably wont play this week because of a knee injury. Denver surprised a lot of teams last season with their D and should be pretty solid this season behind the efforts of Elvis Dumervil who can pressure the QB from the D-end slot and outside linebacker position. Von Miller is another guy who can apply pressure and make plays along with veteran cover man Champ Bailey who remains one of the best in the business.
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Special teams are evenly matched as both teams are just average talent. I will note the Steelers Shaun Suisham does tend to struggle on field goals which may be a factor down the stretch especially in an anticipated close contest.
The wise guys in Las Vegas have moved the Broncos as 10-to-1 to win the Superbowl. Weve had a run of money on the Broncos, said Jay Korengay, who runs the sportsbook at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Since Manning signed with Denver the Broncos went from 60-to-1 to 10-to-1. Apparently people have faith in Manning but will he sustain his poise and posture after a few series of abuse at the hands of the Steelers? This is the most anticipated game on the ticket and all eyes will be on Manning.
Big Ben and Peyton have battled it out many times before, but now it is Manning who looks to rekindle his career in a new uniform and for a new team. I like Big Ben to come out strong and lead the Steelers to an opening weekend W! Manning can read defenses well and make great adjustments but he also has to execute physically which may be a task. The Steelers grind this one out and cover by Suisham connecting on a rare long FG for the win!
Wilsons Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Steelers cover on Suisham FG. Luck to ya.
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