Can Denver QB Mningan outscore injury-hit Steelers?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:04pm EST
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - The stars appear to be aligning for the Denver Broncos in their quest for a second Super Bowl appearance in three years, but big questions remain as the AFC's top seed heads into Sunday’s Divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh.

The Steelers (10-6) suffered a double dose of bad injury news on Friday with their leading receiver, Antonio Brown (concussion), and leading rusher DeAngelo Williams (foot) ruled out for the game.

Listed as questionable was two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who might be restricted by a sprained joint and torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder even if he is able to suit up.

That would seem to shift the odds heavily in Denver's favor, but the defensive-minded Broncos (12-4) have their own questions to answer.

None looms bigger than what 39-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning, a five-time league most valuable player, can deliver in what may be his last campaign.

Manning, who has given no indication he plans to retire, returned from injury just in time to steer the Broncos to victory over San Diego on the final day of the regular season to earn a first-round bye and home field advantage.

But the 14-times Pro Bowler has been a shadow of his former elite self on the field.

After missing seven weeks with a foot injury before coming off the bench against the Chargers, he displayed his veteran savvy, though still did not throw with his old power.   Continued...

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates winning the game over the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-20. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports