Monday, January 02, 2012

Deck the Broncos, They're Just Yoncos!

Although the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 13-9 Sunday, the Baltimore win against the Cincinnati Bengals means that the Ravens earned the AFC North Division title and a first round bye. Therefore, the Steelers as a Wild Card will travel to Denver to face the Broncos next Sunday afternoon. Despite the fact that the Steelers were 12-4 on the season while Denver finished 8-8 with three straight losses, naturally, Steelers fans (including myself) may be worried. Here’s why:

- Injuries. Pro Bowlers QB Ben Roethlisberger & C Maurkice Pouncey aren’t close to 100% with ankle injuries. Meanwhile, starting RB Rashard Mendenhall may be out for the year with a knee injury and LaMarr Woodley’s hamstring has caused him to miss six of the last eight games.

- Ryan Clark had his spleen and gall bladder removed following a game in Denver a few years ago due to some type of reaction to the high altitude. Clark, another Pro Bowler, may not play at Denver

- Every NFL analyst/expert will pick Pittsburgh to win. Remember what happened last year when the 7-9 NFC West division champion Seattle Seahawks hosted the New Orleans Saints, the defending Super Bowl Champs? Denver will certainly have the "no one believes in us" mentality, and it's always possible (though unlikely) that some Pittsburgh players could be overconfident.

- Weather. It’s Denver in January, so who knows what could happen. Snow and wind could give the edge to the Broncos who have the best rushing team in the league. The Steelers are clearly a passing team now. Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris aren’t walking through that door!

With all of this written, the spirit of Myron Cope will be on the Steelers' side. Prior to the 1984 Steelers-Broncos first round playoff game in Denver, Cope created this Christmas song, and the Steelers won.

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