NFL Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos Pick 1/8/12

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QB Tim Tebow will take to the NFL playoffs for the first time in his career, and he will do so against arguably the most accomplished team in the NFL in the last decade, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Year To Date Record: 59-61 ATS
Upset Record: 18-35, -$930

Wild Card NFL Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Date: Sunday, January 8th, 4:30 ET
Location: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
NFL Wild Card Lines: Pittsburgh -8
Over/Under 34.5
Wild Card NFL TV Schedule: CBS

Steelers Notes: For anyone that thinks that the Steelers are just going to blow through an inferior team, just look back at the New Orleans Saints last year and ask them how they did when they had to fly across the country to take on the Seattle Seahawks on the road. This is definitely not a full strength team to say the least, and we tend to think that that factor is being overlooked. RB Rashard Mendenhall was put on IR last week, and that only came right on the heels of the team putting RB Jonathan Dwyer on IR. RB Mewelde Moore is hurt as well. That really just leaves RB Isaac Redman to get the job done on the ground, and if something happens to him, rookie RB John Clay, who didn’t suit until two weeks ago in his first NFL game and only has a total of 10 carries for his career, would be asked to step into this huge spot and carry the load. QB Ben Roethlisberger has been injured quite a bit over the last few weeks with an ankle injury, and we just aren’t all that sure that he is as healthy as “probable” suggests on the injury report. The defense is simply one of the best in the game year in and year out, and this is the unit that is going to have to get the job done, though it will be tested against a team that is going to present the type of offense that it has never seen before.

Broncos Notes: To say that this is a franchise defining game might be a bit of an understatement, but it isn’t an outrageous one by any means. QB Tim Tebow has played like garbage over the course of the last few weeks, and he was probably the reason that the team stumbled to a three game skid at the end of the year. That being said, there is also no one that can deny the fact that he was simply superhuman in the fourth quarter of games during a six game winning streak. It was Tebow magic, and it was the likes that we have never seen before and may never see again in the NFL. Should Tebow win this game, he will, without a shadow of a doubt, be the team’s starting quarterback next year, and probably in the future as well. However, if he fizzles and QB Brady Quinn has to come in to replace him, it could be a sign that the team is heading in a totally new direction next season. What can’t be underestimated is the fact that the defense has had a total renaissance over the course of the last two and a half months, and a unit that was one of the worst in the game over the course of the last few years is suddenly going to be capable of winning playoff games all by itself.

The Final Word: We just don’t see it for Pittsburgh. We haven’t thought that they were that good all season long, and we still don’t see it. There are too many injuries and too many excuses. Tebow isn’t the quarterback that is winning the Super Bowl this year, but in spite of his woeful completion percentage, lack of quality passes, and goofy looking delivery and the sorts, we just think that Tebow is going to find some way, whether by religion, motivation, or just sheer dumb luck, to get the job done and to get into the second round of the playoffs.

Wild Card NFL Pick: Denver +8

NFL Football Prediction: Denver 16 – Pittsburgh 12

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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