1. Brock Osweiler needs to sling it
"The Broncos are going to have to score some points this weekend," Shapiro says. "The Pittsburgh Steelers are the hottest offensive team in the league right now. And despite the fact that the Broncos do have a really good defense and really good defensive backs, you have to assume the Steelers at home are going to put some points on the board. Which means the Broncos are going to have to put some points on the board. Which might mean the Broncos are going to have to let go of the reins on Brock Osweiler and let him sling the ball around the park a little bit."
2. Antonio Brown is nearly unstoppable
"Antonio Brown can run past any cornerback in the NFL. As good as Aqib Talib and Chris Harris have been playing this season, Antonio Brown has the ability to make plays outside of the Xs and Os," Brown cautioned. "You draw up a coverage and say, 'Hey, we're gonna make sure this guy doesn't get behind us.' Every team says that. He gets behind virtually everybody.
"Once you start bailing back and trying to prevent him from getting behind you, then he's running crossing routes. Then he's running comebacks. He's a difficult matchup for anybody. So without the comfort of a healthy safety behind Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, those guys cannot play nearly as aggressively and nearly as tight. So now all those underneath routes start to open up. So that's a recipe for disaster if you don't have the safeties back there that can give the cornerbacks the peace of mind that, "I'm underneath; you're on top. Between the two of us we're going to bracket this guy."
"Any doubt in those guys' minds, they're probably going to play a little deeper and allow those short passes to happen. And Ben is patient enough to methodically move the ball down the field if you give him those short passes."
3. Pittsburgh is red hot and will be a tough environment
"It's not as loud as it is in say Seattle, but the Steelers fans certainly get involved in the game," Brown said. "You know, seeing all those Terrible Towels waving, considering they've been one of the hotter teams in the leagues the past couple of weeks, I'm sure the Steeler faithful will be riled up for this one.
"As far as Brock Osweiler playing there, playing against this team... At this point, they (the Steelers) are playing really good defense. So this Broncos offense, coming off not a very good performance, will be facing a defense ... that is really fantastic at confusing young quarterbacks, getting after the quarterback, and making life really difficult for offensive linemen."
Clearly the Broncos have a tall task ahead of them, which is why the spread is the biggest the Broncos have faced since early in the Peyton Manning era.