The Broncos couldn’t have had a better Wild Card weekend. They spent the weekend getting much needed rest and Pittsburgh won, giving Denver another shot at taking down Ben Roethlisberger and Steelers. This news wasn’t met with the optimism that it should have been in Broncos Country.

Hosting the Steelers on Sunday is best-case scenario for the Broncos.

There are two main reasons why Denver fans should be happy with Denver’s matchup. The prideful Broncos defense will have extra motivation to stop Big Ben and the offense gets to face the worst defense remaining in the playoffs.

Success in the NFL playoffs relies on exploiting matchups. Gary Kubiak and the offense shouldn’t have any trouble doing just that. Pittsburgh’s defense is ranked 21st in the NFL. It’s a group that struggles the most when it comes to defending the pass, because their secondary is extremely suspect.

Denver’s problems on offense are well documented. They struggle to run the football and their offensive line is a mess. But, Denver has been very proficient throwing the ball no matter who is lined up under center. Peyton Manning will be facing a unit that allowed 363 yards per game during the regular season.

Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have to be licking their chops.

Wade Phillips and the defense have quite a different task on their hands. Roethlisberger leads an explosive unit with three dangerous receiving targets and a very good offense line.

The Steelers finished the year ranked third in total team offense, averaging almost 400 yards and 26 points per game. Shutting them down for an entire game is no easy assignment, Denver knows this firsthand.

Big Ben led the Steelers to 21 unanswered points on Dec. 20 in a comeback win over the Broncos. Following that game, the defense pointed the finger at themselves almost man-to-man. Chris Harris was the most vocal after he allowed two touchdowns in the second half. It was a big blow to a proud group.

In fact, there might not be a more prideful group in the NFL. Defensive players spent last week publically complaining about the lack of All-Pros and Pro Bowlers from the Broncos roster. It’s a group that knows they’re ranked the number one defense in the NFL and they aren’t shy about telling people. You can bet that Harris and the rest of the secondary will be looking to prove that that second half in Pittsburgh was an anomaly.

NFL teams shouldn’t need extra motivation in the playoffs but the Broncos will certainly have it. They still have a terrible taste in their mouths from the loss in Week 15 and they want to rinse it out.

Broncos Country may not think Denver got their first break Saturday when the Steelers beat the Bengals, but of the teams Denver could have faced the Steelers field the worst defense. The Broncos should be able to move the ball and put points on the scoreboard; Manning and the Broncos aren’t facing the vaunted Steel Curtain.

Denver’s toughest task is going to be shutting down a two-time Super Bowl winner. Roethlisberger has taken the road path to the Super Bowl once before so this isn’t a new situation for him. With that, there isn’t another defensive unit in football that relishes that challenge more than this Broncos unit. Add the extra motivation of wanting to prove they can stop the Steelers and it’s a perfect scenario.

The Steelers are a veteran-laden team with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Beating them Sunday isn’t going to be easy. But it’s a game that pits one of Denver’s strengths against Pittsburgh’s weakness and Pittsburgh’s strengths against Denver’s biggest strength.

In the NFL playoffs, where anything can happen, that’s all you can ask for.