TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Denver Broncos Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Broncos
Steelers
Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback
Winner Peyton Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback who gets a chance to write a new chapter in his career with the Broncos. While he must show he can take the abuse that comes with playing the position in regular season games, he is a huge upgrade for the Broncos over Tim Tebow.
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most unique quarterbacks in the league. He has the size and strength to shake off a big hit, slide to the outside and buy time and then make a big play. He can take a lot of punishment and throw an accurate pass, giving the Steelers a chance to win most weeks.
Offense
The Broncos have some workable tools on offense. Start with hard-working Willis McGahee, who no longer is a breakaway threat but can punish a defense when he lowers his shoulder. Demaryius Thomas is the Broncos big-play receiver while Eric Decker can make the possession catch.
Winner The Steelers want to run the ball with Rashard Mendenhall, but he won’t be recovered from his torn ACL until midseason. That means Isaac Redman will be asked to run the ball. Mike Wallace is a big-play wideout who can break the long one at any time while Antonio Brown is quick, agile and knows how to get open.
Defense
While Tim Tebow got the bulk of the publicity in Denver last year, the play of the Bronco defense was a surprise. Elvis Dumervil can pressure the quarterback from the defensive end slot and outside linebacker Von Miller can do the same. Champ Bailey is still one of the best cover men in the league.
Winner It’s almost like clockwork. You can count on the Steelers to have one of the best defensive units in the league under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. This year is no different. The Steelers have Troy Polamalu to run the secondary and underrated Ziggy Hood on the defensive line. Outside linebacker James Harrison (knee) probably won’t be ready for the start of the season.
Special Teams
Matt Prater was the best kickoff man in the league last year, but he gets a boost because he kicks in Denver. His field goal kicking was ordinary and so was the Broncos’ return game.
Winner The Steelers got a big boost from Antonio Brown in the return game as he averaged 27.3 yards per kickoff return and 10.3 yards per punt return. Shaun Suisham has a strong leg for kickoffs but struggles on field goals.

The Winner Is

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Winner Steelers
3 out of 4

Circumstances have changed dramatically since the Steelers’ season ended in Denver in the wild-card playoff game, but this game is still important. The Steelers want revenge while the Broncos want to see that Manning can play a regular-season game without getting hurt.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INGLEWOOD, CA - 1987: Kurt Rambis #31 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes circa 1987 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California . NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1987 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) MILWAUKEE - 1970:  Wilt Chamberlain #13 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1970 season at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1970 NBAE (Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Center

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those player coaches, who would make the best starting five?

  2. CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Luke Walton #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats on February 14, 2011 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE  (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) BOSTON - 1966:  Elgin Baylor #22 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball against Sam Jones #24 of the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1966 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1966 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Power Forward

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those player coaches, who would make the best starting five?

  3. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) (Photo by Vernon Beiver/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Small Forward

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those coaches, who would make the best starting five?

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It

Listen Live