Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 9/9/12

Peyton Manning makes his return to action tonight, as a member of the Denver Broncos, when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It is a rematch of last season’s playoff game, but the Broncos are far from the same team.

Denver Broncos

The new era in Denver is one that sees Manning take over for Tim Tebow, who is now in New York with the Jets.

Tebow provided fans in Denver, and nationwide, with one of the most unexpected and thrilling playoff victories in recent memory, but fans in Denver will surely be much happier with Manning.

The key factor to look for in this game will be the play of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos’ top two receivers. Both had solid seasons last year, but they will certainly see an increase in production with Peyton as their quarterback. This was even seen in the preseason, as Decker was a favorite target for Peyton.

Besides the departure of Tebow, the second most talked about issue has to do with Peyton Manning’s neck.

He has not played a in a regular season game since the 2011 season, so this will be his first real test of how he is holding up. Not only how his neck is holding up, but his entire body as well, considering he has faced limited contact since his return.

Seeing whether or not Peyton is skittish in the pocket and perhaps too quick to throw the ball away, will be something to look for as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers

In Pittsburgh, Todd Haley is now in charge of the offense, which will be most likely be without Rashard Mendenhall in the backfield. Isaac Redman is also banged up, which means more pressure will fall on Ben Roethlisberger, not that this has ever been a problem in the past.

There are also injuries on defense for Pittsburgh, as James Harrison is unlikely to play. He is crucial to the success of their defense, so his absence should only further Peyton’s success in his return.

Broncos-Steelers Prediction

This game is very even on paper, but it is very tough to pick against Peyton in his return.

The Steelers have several key injuries, including Harrison and Mendenhall, which do not allow them to put the best possible team on the field.

Peyton will prove that he is just as good as he was before his injury, and he will begin the new era in Denver successfully.

Broncos 27 | Steelers 21

*****

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Game Info
  • Steelers-Broncos Date: Sunday, September 9
  • Steelers-Broncos Kickoff Time: 8:20 PM
  • Steelers-Broncos TV Network: NBC
  • Steelers-Broncos Point Spread: Broncos -1
  • Steelers-Broncos Over-Under Odds: 45

The post Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.


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