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The Denver Broncos have the opportunity tonight to recover from last weekend’s bitter loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Problem is they’re up against the defending-Super-Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers, a fearless team with a wily quarterback.
The game will feature two of the AFC’s top defensive pass rushers in Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and Denver’s Elvis Dumervil, notes The Associated Press.
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The undersized Dumervil (pictured) leads the AFC with 10 sacks, and the Broncos will need him to rack up a couple more if they’re going to have a chance against one of the best improvisational quarterbacks in the league.
The defense may also get a boost from another former New England Patriot who has joined the fold. Ty Law, once among the best defensive backs in the NFL and, at 35 years old, still a pretty damn good defender, joined the team Saturday (via The Associated Press).
Law won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and Josh McDaniels, and should help bolster a sometimes-suspect defensive backfield for the Broncos.
It will also help if the Broncos can get their offense to show up in any meaningful way. It may not be coincidence that during their first loss of the season last week they scored just seven points, making the Broncos the lowest-scoring team in the NFL with a winning record (via The Denver Post–free registration required).
The Steelers come in treating the Broncos as one of their all-time rivals, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pointing out that the teams have met six times in the playoffs since 1977, with each team earning three wins. It doesn’t really matter what it takes for the Broncos to get fired up for the Steelers. The San Diego Chargers pulled out a last-minute win yesterday against the New York Giants and sit just one game back in the division. That should be motivation enough.