Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos Sun. Jan. 8, 2012 4:30 p.m. EST

The first week of the NFL playoffs will be a good one with all the Wild Card teams battling it out for a chance to face the cream of the crop in the form of the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Even though most of these Wild Card teams don’t stand much of a chance against the big dogs in the playoffs, there is always a possibility of one of these teams doing the seemingly impossible.

The one team that comes into the playoffs as arguably the biggest underdog is the AFC West division champion Denver Broncos with second-year quarterback Tim Tebow leading the way under center. Not only are the Broncos arguably the biggest underdog, but they will have arguably the toughest challenge ahead of them as they will have to face off against the lockdown defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is a bit banged up coming into this matchup with two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nursing a sore ankle and running back Rashard Mendenhall (torn ACL, right knee) out for the season, but this team has been good enough on the defensive side of the football that they might be able to takeout the Denver Broncos without much trouble.

With a three-game losing streak coming into this game on Sunday in the Mile High City, the Denver Broncos are struggling with the offense having trouble scoring and the vastly improved offense shouldering the load. Now that Tim Tebow and company have started to struggle on offense, the defense has been on the field much more than usual and as a result this team has begun to fall apart.

Throughout the NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos were without a doubt the most talked about team in the league with Tim Tebow seemingly the one thing this team was missing. Despite winning the AFC West division title and getting back into the playoffs for the first time in quite a while, the Broncos just don’t seem like the same team that was so impressive and driven earlier in the year.

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With that being said, the Denver Broncos will have their hands full against the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend and will not be the favorites even though they are playing on their home field. Like I said before though, anything can happen in the playoffs and there is always a chance for an upset.

As of right now, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the heavy favorites in this AFC Wild Card game with a -9 point spread. Even though I believe the Steelers are capable of blowing out the Broncos and covering this large spread, taking Denver seems like the wise decision.

Take the Broncos at +9.

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