By Alan Robinson and Mark Kaboly
Your Tribune-Review Steelers writers take sharply differing views on the 2012 season opener. Our picks (of course, for amusement purposes only):
ALAN ROBINSON’S PICK
STEELERS 24, BRONCOS 21
We don’t know what Peyton Manning is going to look like, 20 months and four neck operations since he last played in the NFL. We do know what Ben Roethlisberger will look like. I anticipate a higher-scoring game than might be expected a) Given Manning’s layoff and possible rustiness and b) Considering the NFL’s best defense from last season will be on the field. With the best corps of receivers he’s had yet in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger could have the best season of his career statistically. It all begins in Denver, where the Ben-led Steelers will get off to the good start that eluded them during their 35-7 loss to the Ravens in last year’s opener. Manning will be good, but Roethlisberger will be better.
MARK KABOLY’S PICK
BRONCOS 28, STEELERS 17
There are just too many things going against the Steelers in this one — Peyton Manning’s much-anticipated debut, on the road and in the rarified air in Denver and the unknowns at running back and linebacker will be too much for them to overcome. The only equalizer the Steelers have is if they can pressure Manning into making bad decisions. Although he’s shown to be susceptible to that in the past, look for the Broncos and pass-rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller in their new 4-3 look to have their way with the Steelers offensive line and harass Ben Roethlisberger all night long.
Now, feel free to make your own picks …