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Steelers Gab 2012 Week 1 NFL Preview – Pittsbugh at Denver

The opener for the Steelers is Sunday night in Denver, and while all eyes will be on Petyon Manning, the Steelers have to make sure to take care of their QB in Ben Roethlisberger, as in overlooking Denver’s D would be a fatal mistake for the Black and Gold.

With all that said, here’s our first official preview for the 2012 season, along with our prediction below of how Sunday night will play out.

1. Don’t Let Peyton Get Comfortable – The lack of a solid pass rush is going to doom the Steelers. I know that the Steelers had a very good pass defense a year ago, but thinking they can win this game without getting to Manning is a mistake, one that could seal their fate. LaMarr Woodley and that defensive front needs to put some hits and pressure on Manning – if they can force him to feel the heat, it could help their chances big time.

2. Make it Rain(ey) – You can’t deny how good and explosive Chris Rainey has looked in the preseason, and the more you see of him, the more you want the Steelers to get him the ball. Rainey could be the X-factor in this game in terms of special teams and the Steelers have to find a way to get him the ball more than just 1-2 times. Look for Rainey to provide a big play if given the shot.

3. Pass Protection – Yeah, we know it all too well, the Steelers offensive line isn’t one of the best in the game, blah, blah, blah. It’s time for this unit to show up and play well against a solid Denver pass rush, and if they can and give Ben some time, he can pick and choose his wideouts downfield. The bottom line is Ben can’t get hit in 2012 like the past seasons. That starts with solid play up front, and those guys need to have a good game.

Prediction – No James Harrison is going to hurt in the pass rush, and the run game needs to find a way to keep the rest of the offense honest, putting up a solid effort to not just allow the Broncos to tee off on Ben. I’ve said all along this game worries me, as primetime Sunday night with Manning’s return has me thinking the Steelers are going to have a tough time in this one, hanging around for awhile, but falling in the end.

Denver 27 Pittsburgh 13

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. DrGeorge

    September 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Your prediction won’t sit well with Steelers’ fans, Matt — in the poll below, the majority pick us to win — but your analysis is spot on. I gave my reasons for reaching the same conclusion in an earlier comment. With the Steelers defense missing 6 starters, the O-line still unable to execute consistently or protect Ben, and the running game slowed my injuries, the Steelers aren’t going to beat the Broncos at home, unless the Broncos help them by making lots of mistakes. Moreover, our problems with lack of depth and inexperience at key positions will be magnified by the altitude. I hate to say it, but logic suggests the point spread could be even worse than your prediction. The Steelers are going to improve a lot over the next six weeks, but Denver appears to be too tough an initial test for a Pittsburgh team that is still trying to put the pieces together.

  2. Pingback: Steelers Gab 2012 Week 1 NFL Preview – Pittsbugh at Denver | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

  3. Matt Loede

    September 9, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Thanks DrGeorge – I understand it’s hard to swallow what I said, but I have to be honest about how I feel, and in a number of areas, I am nervous.

    Maybe it’s the DeCastro injury, or the fact that the Steelers played in BMore last year in the opener and laid one of the worst eggs I have ever seen.

    I think that the black and gold will win 11 games, but I just think it’s going to be a long night Sunday with Manning and the Broncos getting the win.

    Hey, I hope I am DEAD WRONG, and have a shot to write a happy recap about 11:30 tomorrow night. Till then, I’m gonna just have to sit back and watch like everyone else.

  4. mark

    September 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

    spot on. Big coming out party for Manning, and with a great like him its hard to find a way to win on the road. Steelers will hang tough but probably lose late.

  5. Nick

    September 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I am getting a feeling that the game will seem closer than the score actually appears. I am guessing close to what you said at 27-13, but I think it’s going to come down to a couple big plays and a lot of mistakes from both teams. I won’t get to watch the game live, unfortunately, because I’ll be working at Dish tonight. However, my Hopper will record the game for me with PrimeTime Anytime so that I can watch it tonight when I get off. I’m really just excited for where this season can take us, and tonight is the first step in what could be a great season!

  6. DrGeorge

    September 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Like Matt, I hate making negative judgments about our Steelers, so let me sound a more positive note today. The Steelers might be able to win the game tonight (notwithstanding all I wrote above) by playing Cowher football: meaning, run the ball with Dwyer and Redman, use Rainey on halfback flair passes, feature short passes to the tight ends, and use Butler’s leg to pin the Broncos deep — all for the purpose of controlling the clock, keeping Manning off the field, and protecting our Defense. Use the passing game primarily to keep the Bronco’s defense honest until we get a 10 point lead, and then open it up deep.

    The fans find field position football boring and Ben R. hates any strategy that doesn’t let him show off his big arm, but conservative, mistake-free football often enables weaker teams to win games like this one, as Cowher repeatedly proved. At least, this strategy will maximize our time of possession, minimize the risk of turnovers, and keep us in the game so we can win it. The Steelers are good enough to do it. The question is whether this team, at this point in its development, can execute even a simplified game plan for 60 minutes. Like Matt, I’m going to watch and hope.

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