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mesaSteeler
12-17-2011, 07:10 AM
NFL from the sidelines
http://nflfromthesidelines.blogspot.com/
After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard as a sometime host on ESPN 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Who I like, San Francisco version

Who will play and who won't?

That is always a key heading into any game. And for the Steelers and 49ers, it's critical.

Being here in Pittsburgh, we all know about the question marks for the Steelers.

Obviously, James Harrison is out, suspended by the NFL for this game. But quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, safety Troy Polamalu and center Maurkice Pouncey are huge question marks for the Steelers as well.

For San Francisco, running back Frank Gore, linebacker Patrick Willis and left tackle Joe Staley are hurting.

That's a lot of star power.

Polamalu, Gore and Willis, in my opinion, are the three biggest factors there.

We all know the Steelers' struggles over the past few seasons without Polamalu. They are a Super Bowl team with him, a sub-.500 team without.

On the other hand, they proved last season they could win without Roethlisberger in the lineup at least in the short term. And Doug Legursky is a capable replacement for Pouncey, even if he's not the Pro Bowl player Pouncey is.

Gore is San Francisco's entire offense. He's dealt with ankle and knee injuries over the past six weeks and without his running, the 49ers' offense relies solely on Alex Smith. That could be difficult without Staley at left tackle.

Gore should play, but he managed just 10 carries last week in a loss at Arizona.

And Willis is the heart and soul of San Francisco's defense. While Ray Lewis may get the publicity, it's Willis who is the best inside linebacker in football.

He's a big reason why the 49ers are allowing 3.2 yards per carry and haven't given up a rushing touchdown this season.

Regardless of who plays and who doesn't, the Steelers are the better team.

Bayz101
12-17-2011, 08:21 PM
If our run defense steps it up, we shouldn't have any trouble in this one.

tanda10506
12-17-2011, 11:16 PM
Is Woodley going to play?

steeltheone
12-18-2011, 10:02 AM
If BR7 misses, we will be lucky to win. They shut down the run. We will be forced to pass.

Playoff time...We win none without Ben.

Atlanta Dan
12-18-2011, 10:37 AM
Playoff time...We win none without Ben.

No kidding - you can say that about every playoff team if its loses its starting QB (which is why i am not sold on the Texans not being one and done in the playoffs)

Bayz101
12-18-2011, 11:47 AM
No kidding - you can say that about every playoff team if its loses its starting QB (which is why i am not sold on the Texans not being one and done in the playoffs)

Any player, much less the Qb would be a big loss. Imagine us, minus Troy.