If you watched the bizarre finish to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round last week, then you and all the other online Sportsbetting sites should know that you can never count the Steelers out until the last second has ticked off the clock. Even with his shoulder injured to the point that he couldn’t throw deep balls, Ben Roethlisberger led his team on their final drive to victory (helped, of course, by the idiotic behavior of Vonzel Burfict and Pacman Jones).
Now that Pittsburgh is heading to Denver — and the Broncos are just favored by three — why should you take the Steelers in this scenario?
The Broncos have a quarterback controversy.
It’s true that Peyton Manning came on in relief of Brock Osweiler in Week 17, and the Broncos came back and won. However, that win was more of a function of turnovers ending and the Bronco running game sealing the deal, two trends that probably would have happened even if Osweiler had stayed in the game. Now, though, you have a Manning who still doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket starting — and he will be facing a thunderous Steelers pass rush — and you have Osweiler, whose confidence took a thrashing from that Week 17 benching and could be tentative if he ends up on the field in the divisional round. So Kubiak turned what had become a confident backup into a motivational mess again.
The Steelers’ running game is alive and well.
If Landry Jones has to start the game at quarterback for the Steelers, then it’s likely that the Broncos will win. However, even a limited Ben Roethlisberger can find the right target for swing passes and short slants while Fitzgerald Toussaint picks up yardage on the ground. DeAngelo Williams, the tailback most of the way this year, was in a walking boot last week, but Toussaint was one of the big stories of the wild card round, running all over the field.
The Steelers’ defense is stout.
This unit held the Bengals scoreless until the fourth quarter. When Roethlisberger left the game with a shoulder injury, the entire team appeared to take a motivational hit, and Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron was able to lead the team up and down the field, turning a 15-0 deficit into a 16-15 lead — until Burfict and Jones combined to give the game away (by the way, some of that Twitter anger directed toward Viking kicker Blair Walsh should go to Burfict and Jones instead, because those two simply let their anger get the best of them to cost the Bengals the game — they didn’t have to make a pressure-soaked field goal).