Four Broncos to watch

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
12:00
PM ET
The following are players to watch for Denver in its wild-card game against visiting Pittsburgh on Sunday:

Quarterback Tim Tebow: Sure, it’s obvious, but Tebow must play better if the Broncos have a chance to pull off the home upset. He has been dreadful the past two weeks and has regressed at an alarming rate. He seems unsure of even cocking back and throwing the ball and he has not been effective as a runner. Tebow has to turn it on in a hurry.

Linebacker Von Miller: Miller’s play has been severely affected by a thumb injury. He is playing with a cast on his right hand and it has essentially made him a one-handed player. The rookie is special. He has to find as way to harass gimpy Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and help his defense. Miller has been subbed for in some run situations in the past couple of games. He has struggled some against the run, especially after his injury.

Guard Russ Hochstein: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver was the only team in the NFL to start the same five offensive linemen in all 16 games. That will change in the postseason. The backup is playing for standout guard Chris Kuper. Kuper broke his leg last week. Hochstein is a veteran, but he will have his hands full against the Steelers’ aggressive defensive front.

Cornerback Champ Bailey: He is the heart and soul of this team. He is a future Hall of Famer, and if the Broncos have any chance of winning this game, someone on defense is going to have to step up and make some special plays. Bailey is capable of providing that spark.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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