The last time Big Ben and the Steelers visited the Mile High City, Denver, then directed by super-hyped QB Tim Tebow, abruptly showed Mike Tomlin's ball club the postseason door.
Steeler fans are still in denial over Tebow's overtime long distance pass and run TD connection which snuffed out an otherwise decent 2011 season for the Black & Gold.
This Sunday night, Pittsburgh again faces the Broncos. Only this time, Tebow is long gone and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will have the Sports Authority Field at Mile Stadium turnout in an all-night frenzy.
Stands to reason Pittsburgh could be in for a long evening. Then, again.
We see the Steelers coming out on top. That's right. Despite ongoing key injures, the expected absence of starting running back Rashard Mendenhall, and uncertainty regarding the status of defensive ace James Harrison, we still expect the Steelers to spoil Denver's opening night party. Call it our first Upset Special. STEELERS, 23-17.
As for the rest of week's one matchups:
DALLAS AT NEW YORK GIANTS. Home field - not to mention superior talent - more than enough for Eli and company. GIANTS, 30-20.
BUFFALO AT NEW YORK JETS. Rex Ryan's offense didn't exactly razzle-dazzle them in the preseason. Still, Gang Green opens with a win. JETS, 17-14.
PHILADELPHIA AT CLEVELAND. A tough opener for Brownies. But aren't they all? Philly's owner, meanwhile, has made it clear; Andy Reid needs to get it done this season. EAGLES, 27-17.
ST. LOUIS AT DETROIT. Motown fans expecting an extended postseason led by QB Matthew Stafford. St. Louie is a nice place to start. LIONS, 34-14.
NEW ENGLAND AT TENNESSEE. Pats will get a healthy dose of Titans' RB Chris Johnson who needs a productive game against Brady Bunch. PATRIOTS, 27-20.
INDIANAPOLIS AT CHICAGO. In his regular season debut, we can't see Andrew Luck coming into Soldier Field and schooling the homeboys. At least, not yet. Bears, 24-13.
JACKSONVILLE AT MINNESOTA. Not exactly a ratings' bonanza. Adrian Peterson appears a potential game time decision. Thus, JAGUARS, 13-10.
ATLANTA AT KANSAS CITY. Ownership expects Dirty Birds to be playing well into January. Matt Ryan and company should prevail with ease. FALCONS, 37-17.
WASHINGTON AT NEW ORLEANS. Skins feel RG 3 is a long-term franchise player whose regular season debut could prove one to forget against NO franchise clearly with a chip on its shoulder. SAINTS, 28-13.
CAROLINA AT TAMPA BAY. Cam Newton injected undeniable energy during his rookie campaign. It should only get better. PANTHERS, 31-23.
SAN FRANCISCO AT GREEN BAY. Obviously, one of week one's high profile matchups. And for good reason. Two teams with Super Bowl aspirations. PACKERS, 24-20.
SEATTLE AT ARIZONA. One of week one's low profile matchups. Third-year QB from Fordham (John Skelton) won Cards' starting job over Kevin Kolb. Wisconsin rookie Russell Wilson played lights-out in Seattle's 4-0 preseason. SEAHAWKS, 24-14.
CINCINNATI AT BALTIMORE. First of two Monday nighters is an interesting divisional matchup. Bungles should keep it close.
SAN DIEGO AT OAKLAND. Monday's nightcap could also go down to the wire and likely will. CHARGERS, 23-20.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org