Finally, the day has arrived.....
Game 6 Matchup: Steelers vs. Broncos
Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
What the Steelers will do:
The Broncos have allowed 79 points the past two games and their run defense is the worst in the league (187 ypg). That should mean lots of work for Willie Parker (507 yards) and Najeh Davenport (209), the AFC's No. 1 rushing tandem. Look for them to attack the corners in the run game because CBs Champ Bailey and Dre Bly are not good tacklers. QB Ben Roethlisberger, who completed his last 13 passes against the Seahawks, will need another big game from LT Marvel Smith, who gets another speed rusher, DE Elvis Dumervil (4 sacks).
What the Broncos will do:
The loss of WR Javon Walker has led to inconsistency by QB Jay Cutler ( 6 INTs, 4 TDs). The Broncos, though, are a team that relies on the run. Travis Henry is fifth in the AFC (498 yards). However, this will be their first game without five-time Pro Bowl C Tom Nalen, and that could be a big mismatch. His replacement, Chris Myers, has to contain Pro Bowl NT Casey Hampton. Defensively, they will try to pressure QB Ben Roethlisberger with Dumervil, DE Simeon Rice and rookie DE Jarvis Moss in third-down situations.
Keep an eye on ...
CB Champ Bailey:
He is generally regarded as the best in the NFL. He had 10 interceptions among his 21 passes defensed last year, even though teams rarely throw to his side (35 times in 2006). He is a rarity -- a cornerback who can catch -- and he has the speed and instincts to jump routes. But the Steelers did not back away from him the last time they played. Bailey, though, has been bothered by a thigh bruise and was limited in practice this week.
Steelers (4-1) at Denver Broncos (2-3).
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Each team is coming off an off week, so they've had plenty of time to prepare. The Broncos are 14-4 after an off week, the third-best percentage (.778) in the league. The Steelers' challenge is to perform better than their last game on the road (Arizona). The Broncos' challenge is to improve a defense that yielded 38 points to Indianapolis and 41 points to San Diego.
Keys to Victory
1 Get men on Ben.
Roethlisberger has passed for 708 yards and three touchdowns in two games against Denver.
2 Say "Oh, Henry!"
They have to be able to run the ball to keep the Steelers' blitz package away from Cutler.
3 Have Bailey be a champ.
The Steelers insist they will not shy away from the Broncos' cornerback
To win, the Steelers must ...
1 Reduce turnovers.
They committed six (three INTs, three fumbles) in last year's loss at Heinz Field, despite gaining 499 yards.
2 Stampede the Broncos.
The Steelers have the league's No. 2 rush offense; the Broncos have the worst run defense.
3 Stop the chop.
The three-man line has to be aware of Denver's penchant for throwing chop blocks to create holes.