Steelers vs. Broncos: 10 Things for Steelers Fans to Watch for Wild Card Weekend

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Steelers vs. Broncos: 10 Things for Steelers Fans to Watch for Wild Card Weekend
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos are not strangers to each other in the NFL playoffs. In fact, this weekend's Wild Card Playoff at Mile High Stadium represents a tiebreaker for the two franchises who have split victories in six previous postseason meetings.

Like John Elway's path through Three Rivers Stadium in the '98 AFC Championship or Big Ben's dismantling of the Broncos in Denver in January 2006, both quarterbacks hope a win over the other will be a springboard for bigger and better things ending in February. 

For both sides, there are adamant doubters.

While the Tim Tebow saga, which dominated the 2011 NFL landscape, was compelling, it may not have been convincing. After all, considering their current three-game losing streak, critics are not only continuing to pick apart Tebow's acuity (or lack thereof) for quarterbacking, but many fans are now beginning to question the mystique and bravado that once captivated the nation for eight Sundays. 

Is Tim Tebow a winner or a mere pipe dreamer who lived out the most odds-defying string of victories in NFL history?

Across the field, the Steelers are a wounded band of brothers who have proven their mettle in the dead of winter. However, with a hobbled quarterback, gimpy center and tinged linebacker, are the Black and Gold truly prepared for the obstacles that face them in this postseason?

Adding to the difficulty for the defending AFC Champions is the Ravens' AFC North Championship.  Instead of healing and preparing for a home playoff game in two weeks, the Steelers will play on the road in a few days.

A win will likely only promise them a pair of grueling road playoff games in Boston and Baltimore, barring the unexpected.

Is the 'Burgh bandaged enough to prove they're battle-tested?

As both franchises enter the playoffs with more questions than answers, the Steelers are considered the clear favorite considering the apparent superiority of their roster as well as their experience. 

However, even those factors don't assure victory, adding to the old adage "that's why they play the games!"

With 14 Super Bowl trips between the two clubs, which unit will take the first step toward adding to that total?

Here are 10 things for Steelers fans to watch for as their beloved football team travels to Colorado to begin their pursuit of the Lamar Hunt and Vince Lombardi Trophies.

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