Posted Wed Sep 5th by Monty
Record: 12-4 (2011), 3-1 preseason
Streak: Lost 1 (2011)
Series vs. Denver: 7-13-1 (3-7-1 away)
Last time: Broncos, 29-23, 2011 playoffs
The Line: Denver by 1.5
The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers kickoff the 2012 season on Sunday night in Peyton Manning‘s Broncos debut. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MDT. Here’s our first look at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Who’s hot: Rookie running back Chris Rainey. The fifth round draft pick out of Florida has reportedly won both starting returners spots for the Steelers after an impressive preseason showing. Rainey had punt return touchdowns of 78 and 90 yards in Week Four of the preseason that were both brought back due to holding penalties. Outside of those electrifying plays, Rainey had two other big-play touchdowns this preseason: a 57-yard touchdown reception in Week One and a 41-yard rushing touchdown in Week Three. This late round draft pick has become a diamond in the draft rough — a triple threat now when many other rookies in his draft slot were on their respective teams’ roster bubbles.
Who’s not: Steelers offensive line. The unit, much maligned and injury-riddled since 2010, didn’t finish the preseason healthy either. They lost first round draft pick guard David DeCastro to a knee injury, likely for the season, and allowed 14 sacks in four preseason games.
Matchup to Watch: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Broncos defense. A crucial component to every Broncos victory over a Roethlisberger-led Steelers team has been pressuring the quarterback, and last January’s playoff victory at Sports Authority Field at Mile High was no exception. Roethlisberger was rattled. However, word on the street is that Big Ben is healthy for the first time in over a calendar year. He has a pair of weapons in Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace that will cause any defensive coordinator fits, and if he’s mobile enough to evade pressure and make time, Brown and Wallace will make the Broncos pay.