Game Plan and Matchups

The game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers should be an old-school slugfest. Both teams like running the ball and are good against the run. Neither team has thrown the ball very well this season, so don't expect a lot of wide-open football. Check out the game plan and matchups.

SERIES HISTORY: 19th meeting. The Denver Broncos lead the all-time series against the Pittsburgh Steelers 11-6-1. However, the Steelers got a huge postseason win last season. Pittsburgh came to Invesco Field at Mile High for the AFC Championship Game and won 34-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.

GAME PLAN: This game should be an old-school slugfest. Both teams like running the ball and are good against the run. Neither team has thrown the ball very well this season, so don't expect a lot of wide-open football.

The biggest key for the Broncos will be picking up Pittsburgh's pass rush when they do drop back. That was a problem in the AFC Championship Game. The Broncos will probably line up on defense, won't try to trick anyone and attempt to force a turnover or two. Pittsburgh has turned the ball over a lot this season, and whoever wins the turnover battle this week will have a huge edge.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos CB Darrent Williams vs. Pittsburgh receivers Cedrick Wilson, Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes. Champ Bailey will probably spend a lot of time on Hines Ward, and the way Bailey is playing, the Steelers can't expect a huge game from Ward. So they'll turn to the other side, where Williams will attempt to redeem himself after a tough game against Indianapolis.

--Broncos QB Jake Plummer vs. Steelers S Troy Polamalu. The Broncos have to steer the offense away from Polamalu, who was a big difference maker for the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game last season. Denver, and especially Plummer, has to be aware of where Polamalu lines up.

--Broncos LT Erik Pears vs. Steelers OLB Joey Porter. Pears fared pretty well in his first NFL start, subbing for injured Matt Lepsis. Pears has another tough test against Porter, a relentless rusher. Expect the Broncos to give Porter extra attention and roll out away from him plenty of times.

INJURY IMPACT: DT Gerard Warren practiced on Wednesday and is probable on the injury report. He missed last week's game with a sprained big right toe, but he should be able to play this week if there's no setback.

--RB Tatum Bell practiced Wednesday, but his turf toe injuries could linger for a while. If he plays, he will likely share carries with Mike Bell.



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