Stop me if you've heard this story before. The Pittsburgh Steelers, as the 6th seed in the AFC Playoffs, have to travel to the Cincinnati Bengals for an AFC Wild Card game. If victorious, Peyton Manning awaits. Yes, this was the same story in 2005 when the Steelers were the first 6-seed to ever win a Super Bowl, and they went through the top-ranked Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round to do so.
Fast forward 10 years, and the Steelers find themselves in a near identical situation, except it isn't the Colts who are waiting, but the Denver Broncos.
The Sheriff is back. Broncos announce that Peyton Manning will start in the divisional round. pic.twitter.com/kySzJLU00v— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 7, 2016
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak announced Thursday it would be Peyton Manning leading the Broncos into the postseason, whoever their opponent may be. Manning, who missed a good portion of the second half of the season with a foot injury, has recovered and has been deemed healthy enough to play.
Not only has he been deemed ready to start, but he has proven his worth again, despite his worth has changing dramatically since 2013. No longer is Manning the quarterback who can make all the throws, but will defeat you with his brain. Just watching his Week 17 performance in the second half against the San Diego Chargers, he didn't make throws which made your jaw drop, but always put his team in the best scenario to succeed.
For Manning and the Broncos, they will face the lowest seeded team to advance out of the Wild Card round. Clearly, the No. 6 seed would be the lowest seed if they advance, and some are considering this the best-case scenario for a Steelers team trying to win their seventh Super Bowl championship this year.
Don't expect any members of the Steelers to comment on Manning being named the starter, not unless they defeat the Bengals Saturday night, but the defense could be licking their chops as they face a backup in AJ McCarron in the Wild Car round, and an aging veteran in Manning.