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Insider Only Steelers must take away middle of the field, force Peyton to make difficult throws to the sidelines

3:30 p.m. Steelers Inactives
#2 – QB Mike Vick
#24 – CB Doran Grant
#34 – RB DeAngelo Williams
#46 – FB Will Johnson
#79 – OT Byron Stingily
#84 – WR Antonio Brown
#96 – DE L.T. Walton

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

Matchup: Steelers @ Broncos

Odds: Denver -7

STEELERS MUST MAKE MANNING THROW TO THE SIDELINES

The Steelers go into Denver shorthanded and seven point underdogs as of 60 minutes before kickoff. For Ben Roethlisberger, coming out of Denver with a win could be a defining game for his legacy.

The Steelers offense has to be much better today than they were last week vs Cincinnati. The Broncos are not missing their top-3 safeties this time around like the week 15 contest where Roethlisberger shredded the Broncos secondary in the second half and with Roethlisberger dealing with a sore shoulder, no DeAngelo Williams or Antonio Brown, what the Steelers get out of their offense is a major unknown. Everything screams advantage Denver but don’t be surprised if Roethlisberger shows little signs of being limited.

The Steelers making Mike Vick inactive shows the confidence they have in Roethlisberger. With an elite Denver pass rush, a bigger concern is Roethlisberger taking hits than his ability to throw the ball.

This one looks like it’s all going to come down to Peyton Manning.

What Peyton Manning is going to shown up today is making a lot of Bronco fans nervous. Does the Manning from the Green Bay game show up or the Manning from the KC game? Or is his level of play today somewhere in-between?

Manning enters today’s game 0-4 all-time when the temperature is 40 degrees or colder. He just doesn’t have the physical strength to make the necessary throws in the cold. Manning’s ability to dissect a defense, though, still makes up for a lot, and is one of the reasons the Steelers would much rather be seeing Brock Osweiler than Manning. If Manning comes out and mentally beats the Steelers defense it wouldn’t surprise anyone.

The book on Manning at this stage of his career is forcing him to make throws to the sideline. Take away the middle of the field has to be a primary focus for the Steelers. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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