Tagged in: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers to play starters with shot at No. 1-2 seed

The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up at least the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs by defeating the Houston Texans on Monday.

Pittsburgh will have a bye to the divisional round of the tournament and can still earn the No. 1 seed by defeating the Cleveland Browns and by having the New Jets beat the New England Patriots.

But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he won’t let the fact the No. 1 seed in the AFC is still in play factor into his decision-making on who he will dress for the Browns game.

“I’m undecided as I stand here right now,” Tomlin said Tuesday afternoon at his weekly news conference. “It’s obvious those discussions are in play. We’ll do what’s best for us short-term and long, and we won’t look back.”

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The Steelers-Browns game kicks off at 1 p.m., the same time the Patriots-Jets game starts.

There is a scenario where Tomlin and his staff can watch the scoreboard to see if there is a chance the Patriots could be upset, but that would require Tomlin to play his starters for at least one half and perhaps more if that game is close.

“We have no control over that,” Tomlin said. “We better take care of the business in our stadium. We better focus on the challenges in our stadium and take care of the business that’s in our control. That will be my mentality as we prepare this week and as we walk into the stadium.”

Regardless of whether Tomlin decides to sit or play his stars, the Steelers have an oportunity to go undefeated in the AFC North for the first time since the 2008 season.

Tomlin said there were no significant injuries to come out of the Houston match. He did not have an update on wide receiver Antonio Brown, but he did rule him out for the Browns game.

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Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

 Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh SteelersCheck WagerWeb and find the best online betting site!!!!

When: 8:25 p.m. ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Point spread: Ravens favored by 3 points
Over/under: 44 point

The Pittsburgh Steelers stand to bury the Baltimore Ravens in a seemingly insurmountable 0-4 hole when the AFC North foes meet on “Thursday Night Football” at Heinz Field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens in a primetime matchup of AFC North rivals Thursday night that could have a huge impact on the early-season division race. A fourth straight loss for the winless Ravens would all but eliminate them from contention. A loss by a depleted Steelers team would leave three of the four clubs with at least two losses and create significant separation in the standings for the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.

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The Ravens are in uncharted territory entering Week 4. This is the first time in franchise history they’ve started 0-3, and they are on the verge of their first four-game losing streak since 2007. They are now staring at the near-impossible task of trying to make the playoffs after losing their first three games of the season. Just three teams have done that in the past 25 years, and none since the 1998 Bills.

The Ravens are currently seventh in the NFL with 84.0 rushing yards allowed per game, and fourth at 3.4 yards let up per attempt, with linebackers Daryl Smith, Courtney Upshaw, and CJ Mosley leading the way, and rookie Za’Darius Smith also seeing the field. But Baltimore will miss starting defensive end Chris Canty (calf) for the second straight game.

The Steelers are 2-1, but they also face a tough task in trying to reach the postseason without franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Mike Vick takes over as the starting quarterback, and although he won’t be able to match Big Ben’s gaudy passing stats, he’s a seasoned veteran who should be capable of taking advantage of the incredible talent around him on offense.

Unlike wounded Baltimore, the Steelers defense has exceeded expectations. Pittsburgh’s allowing 17.3 points per game and the pass rush is tied for fifth in the league with 9.0 sacks. Second-year defensive end Stephon Tuitt and rookie linebacker Bud Dupree are responsible for 2.5.

But Pittsburgh could be stretched too thin up front this week. Defensive tackle Daniel McCullers (knee) and second-year linebacker Ryan Shazier (shoulder) have both been ruled out against the Ravens, while cornerback Cortez Allen (knee) is listed as questionable and could miss his third straight game.

However, the Steelers haven’t really missed Allen. Corners Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell have filled in well for Allen, with the former leading Pittsburgh with two passes defensed.

 

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