Pro Football Betting: AFC Playoffs – PITTSBURGH STEELERS at DENVER BRONCOS (1/17)

PRO FOOTBALL — January 17

AFC Playoffs
PITTSBURGH at DENVER

(America’s Bookie Line: Broncos -7 Total 41) — First and foremost, the injuries on the Pittsburgh side affect this game. Antonio Brown, who had 16 catches for 189 yards when the Steelers beat the Broncos previously, is out with a concussion. And Ben Roethlisberger has some ligament damage in his shoulder, which is going to affect the range of motion in his throwing arm. But he can adapt, and the staff is saying that he can run the whole offense. He has some receivers who can get some separation, and the running game did click last week without DeAngelo Williams (out again this week), with 123 yards between Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman. So they might be okay there.

Peyton Manning gets the start for the Broncos, and while he was indeed erratic during the regular season (17 INT’s), we expect he’ll be respectable, and a lot of help when it comes to “managing” this offense; i.e., checking off plays at the line of scrimmage and so forth. Both of these teams can rush the passer (Denver 52 sacks, Pittsburgh 48), so it may come down to which offensive line gets the job done better. We can tell you that the Steelers have allowed Big Ben to be sacked only 20 times, and Roethlisberger is going to be taking plenty of pain killers. Denver is first in the league in yards allowed per drive, as well as sacks and total yardage surrendered, but interestingly enough, they have only 14 interceptions. And keep in mind that even with Manning at quarterback at the beginning, this team did not distance itself from a lot of opponents. On the season, the Broncos have registered nine of their 12 victories by seven points or less. Big Ben has done some business against these guys already, not to mention other top defense such as Seattle’s. He can help keep this close.

PLAY BY JAY: PITTSBURGH +7 ***

(All information is for news matter only; All games are graded on a scale of 1-4 stars. Lines are subject to change)