first_imgPRO BOWLER—Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown catches a 40-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger late in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns Jan. 1, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) If the Steelers (12-4) are to earn another Super Bowl trip they will have to do it on the road. The New England Patriots (13-3), and the Baltimore Ravens (12-4) both won their final games keeping the Steelers on the road as the wild card and the fifth seed, facing number 4 seed the Denver Broncos (8-8) who backed their way into the playoffs.Even though the offense has struggled all season and just barely got past the lowly, Cleveland Browns (4-12), 13-9 the Steelers should not have much of a problem beating the Broncos, despite having to play without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall (torn ACL) and possibly standout safety, Ryan Clark, who had serious health problems the last time he played in Denver. “We have a lot of veterans who know what January football is all about,” said safety Ryan Clark. “Now’s the time to go play it. We kind of limped in and it would have been huge to get a bye and get guys healthy. Now we have to go and play better on the road. I believe this team can win anywhere.”Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward had five catches and became the eighth player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches.“It’s the happiest negative-yard catch I’ve ever had,” Ward said. “I always try to put team ahead of personal goals. But 1,000 catches and over 12,000 yards is not bad considering I was a third-round pick.”Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow had an outstanding rookie season and 7-1 streak before being brought back to earth by the better quality teams in the NFL, as they finished 8-8 losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 7-3 but because of the weakness of the AFC West, they still won the division with the worst record in the playoffs. But none of that means anything in the playoffs, because it’s win or go home.The Patriots earned home field throughout the playoffs as they spotted the Buffalo Bills, 21 points then blew them out 49-21. With Tom Brady playing the best ball of his career it will be extremely hard to beat them on their home field, despite one of the worst defenses in the NFL. However, after giving up the 21 points in the first half, they shut the Bills out in the second half.The Ravens may be the only team with a chance to beat the Patriots with the second best defense in the NFL. But they have the same problem as the Steelers, a very weak offense. They compile stats, but is not very productive in the red zone. But with Ray Rice, they have a better chance than the Steelers. Rice led the AFC in all purpose yardage this season. He will be extremely hard to stop, but Joe Flacco has yet to prove he can produce in the big games, especially against Brady. However, first the Ravens must get past the winner of the first round.last_img