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In the final NFL preseason betting affair of the third week of exhibitions, the Pittsburgh Steelers will battle it out with the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (+2.5)
Sunday, August 29th
8:00 ET, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO
Steelers Notes: This is going to be a very interesting game for the Steelers. QB Ben Roethlisberger is going to get the start in this game, but unlike most starters who would be playing at least through the second quarter, Big Ben probably won't last that long. HC Mike Tomlin wants to get QB Dennis Dixon some reps with the first team, as he is the only one that hasn't worked with the A Unit for any extensive time during the preseason. This could be a foreshadowing to the decision that Tomlin is going to have to make about his quarterbacking situation over the first four games of the season when Roethlisberger is suspended. Dixon has played well in the preseason, completing 13-of-15 passes for 210 yards with a TD. However, he really hasn't played against anything but second and third string defenses yet. This will be a significantly different situation playing against the best that the Broncos have to offer. So far in the preseason, both sides of the ball have played quite well for Pittsburgh. The defense is getting after opposing quarterbacks once again, something that was lost at times during last year's failed attempt at making the playoffs. The offense has put 23 and 24 points respectively in two preseason betting affairs.
Broncos Notes: This week is going to be all about the defense for HC Josh McDaniels. The offense is going to be just fine, as QB Kyle Orton has thrown for 261 yards with four TDs so far in two games. He was also rewarded this week with a big contract extension. With QB Tim Tebow probably sitting this one out with injured ribs, Orton might be called on for added duty. If not, third stringer Brady Quinn will have one of his last chances to move up on Denver's depth chart. The real problem has been the 'D'. Allowing 400.5 yards per game isn't going to win games in the regular season or in the preseason. The Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions, two teams that aren't exactly known as offensive juggernauts, scored 33 and 25 points respectively on the Broncos' defense. They are getting torched on the ground to the tune of 171.0 yards per game, which is dead last in the NFL and is over three times what the team is picking up on the ground itself. The ground attack offensively is only averaging 55.5 yards per game. Denver hasn't won a game since December 6th, a stretch of six straight games.
The Final Word: The Broncos badly need this one for their psyche, especially if Orton ends up playing into the third quarter. The starters can't go against a backup quarterback for a potential playoff team at home and not afford to win, and it would be great to get the winning mentality back in the Mile High City before the regular season gets started. The wrong team is favored in this game.
Prediction: Broncos 23 – Steelers 13