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Greetings from Denver

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  January 8, 2012 02:19 PM

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DENVER -- Welcome to Sports Authority Field at Mile High where the Steelers and Broncos will face off for the right to face the top-seeded Patriots.

A couple of quick-hit thoughts:

  • I will be watching very closely how Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) moves in the pocket. They'll likely get C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle-out) back next week, so I'm not that concerned about the Steelers' protection (it's never that good). It's important how Roethlisberger moves. If he doesn't plant well, the Steelers will struggle and they likely won't beat the Patriots either. The Steelers have scored two touchdowns in the 10 quarters since Roethlisberger sustained a high ankle sprain.
  • The Steelers made a huge mistake playing both Roethlisberger and Pouncey in the season-finale against the Browns. That they both did more damage could be the death knell to their postseason hopes.
  • Steelers get a big boost with OLB LaMarr Woodley being back. Basically, this will be the first time Woodley and OLB James Harrison have played together since Week 4.
  • Broncos are in trouble without S Brian Dawkins (neck). Rookie OLB Von Miller (thumb) hasn't been the same of late.
  • Who Broncos CB Champ Bailey matches up with should be interesting. I'd put him on Mike Wallace all day.

With that out of way, I assume all of New England will be rooting hard for the Broncos and Tim Tebow. Hard to blame you. Think they can pull off the upset?

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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