Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 5) vs. Denver Broncos (No. 4): AFC Wild Card Weekend Preview

This week is typically one of my favorites of the year. It's certainly one of the more hectic and exciting weeks. I usually will be returning back to where I live after a nice vacation with my folks in California. With the start of a new year, it's always an exciting time to think about the future and what the new year might hold. And oh yeah, it's the start of the NFL Playoffs. Wild Card Weekend in particular is great because there are four games spread evenly over the course of Saturday and Sunday. I love when the Steelers have the week off as one of the top two seeds, but that's not the case this year, as the Baltimore Ravens staved off the Steelers for the AFC North crown and the No. 2 seed that accompanied the division title. So it's off to Denver for the six-time champions. They'll face a Broncos team this coming Sunday afternoon in the fourth and final game of the weekend that has dropped its past three games, and looked pretty darn atrocious in the process. Dale Lolley agreed with me during last night's podcast -- there's next to no way Denver wins this game unless the Steelers play one hell of a sloppy, mistake-filled football game.

Hopefully that confidence rests only in our minds, and not in those of the players and coaches. Considering how many experienced veterans there are on the squad that want nothing more than a chance to win another Super Bowl as their careers wind down, I don't think that will be a problem.

To begin our preview coverage, here's the game schedule information, a sample of team stats for both squads, and the two teams' series history, which is quite extensive actually considering that they have never played in the same division.

SERIES HISTORY

STEELERS

BRONCOS

LEADER

13-7-1

STREAKS

3 of past 4

COACHES VS. OPP.

Tomlin: 1-1

Fox: 0-3

COACHES PLAYOFF RECORD

5-2

5-3

VS. COMMON OPP.

Pit: 5-0 (Cin. 2-0; KC 1-0; NE 1-0; Ten. 1-0)

Den: 2-3 (Cin. 1-0; KC 1-1; NE 0-1; Ten. 0-1)

PLAYOFF RECORD

33-20

17-15

LAST WEEK

W 13-9 at Browns

L 7-3 vs. Chiefs

LAST GAME

11/9/09: Steelers 28 at Broncos 10. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger passes for 233 yards & 3 TDs, including 2 to WR Hines Ward, as Steelers improve to 6-2.

LAST GAME AT SITE

11/9/09

LAST PLAYOFF

1/22/06: Steelers 34 at Broncos 17 in AFC Championship Game. Roethlisberger throws 2 TD passes & Pittsburgh defense forces 4 turnovers (2 INTs, 2 FRs) as Steelers advance to Super Bowl XL.

BROADCAST

CBS (2:30 PM MT): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms. Westwood One Radio: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts, Steve Tasker (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 92 (Pit.), 86 (Den.). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (Pit.), 226 (Den.).

STAT LEADERS

PASSING

Roethlisberger: 324-513-4,077 (3C)-21-14-90.1 (3C)

Tebow: 126-271-1,729-12-6-72.9

RUSHING

Redman: 110-479-4.4-3

McGahee: 249-1,199-4.8-4

RECEIVING

Wallace: 72-1,193-16.6-8

Decker: 44-612-13.9-8

OFFENSE

372.3

316.6

TAKE/GIVE

-13

-12

DEFENSE

    271.8 (1L)

      357.8

      SACKS

      Harrison, Woodley: 9

      Miller (R): 11.5 (T3C)

      INTs

      3 tied: 2

      Bailey, Goodman: 2

      PR

      A. Brown: 10.8

      Royal: 16.2

      KR

      A. Brown: 27.3 (3C)

      Willis: 20.4

      PUNTING

      Kapinos: 45.0

      Colquitt: 47.4

      KICKING

      Suisham: 105 (36/36 PAT; 23/31 FG)

      Prater: 87 (30/30 PAT; 19/25 FG)

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