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Old 12-22-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Default Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

Game 16 matchup: Steelers vs. Packers

December 21, 2013 9:05 PM
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When the Packers have the ball: Aaron Rodgers (broken left collarbone) is again not expected to play. Matt Flynn, who led last week's 23-point comeback vs. the Cowboys, will start his fourth game in a row. Flynn has won his past two starts and thrown five touchdowns against two INTs. The Packers will use three wide receivers as part of their base package -- Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin -- and one running back (Eddie Lacy). Nelson has moved from the outside and will line mostly in the slot. Boykin has replaced Randall Cobb, who is on the short-term injured-reserve list and is eligible to return.
The offensive line lost its best player when T Bryan Bulaga had a season-ending injury in training camp. His replacement, David Bakhtiari, has started every snap and performed better than expected. LG Josh Sitton has been their best lineman, but RT Don Barclay has given up eight sacks. He will be matched against OLB Jason Worilds, who leads the Steelers with seven sacks.
When the Steelers have the ball: The Packers have always relied on turnovers to fuel Dom Capers' defense, but they haven't been able to generate their normal amount the past two seasons. The Packers have only 18 takeaways, second fewest in the NFC, and have had problems getting off the field. That's one reason they rank 25th against the run, 22nd against the pass and 21st in points allowed.
Steelers at Packers

Game: Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1), Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
When: 4:25 p.m.
TV: KDKA. Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970) and the Steelers Radio Network.
Favored: No line.


Speed has been a big issue in the front seven. They have wide bodies in their three-man front with DE B.J. Raji, NT Ryan Pickett and DE Johnny Jolly, but they have trouble getting off blocks. Inside LBs A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are not very fast and Pro Bowl OLB Clay Matthews hasn't been the same since breaking his thumb in October. Matthews is tied for the team lead with 6 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles despite missing three games, but he was a non-factor against the Cowboys. The strength of the defense is at cornerback where Tramon Williams and Sam Shields each have three INTs and are capable of covering any wide receiver.
Keep an eye on: DE Josh Boyd ... A fifth-round draft choice from Mississippi State, Boyd played just 38 snaps in the first 13 games. But the 6-foot-3, 310-pound rookie played 31 snaps against the Cowboys and was the Packers' best defensive lineman. Boyd has been able to get off blocks and provide a pass rush for the Packers, who are tied for fifth in the league with 42 sacks.
Intanglibles: The Steelers have won the past three regular season meetings and seven of the past nine, but the Packers won the most recent time they played -- 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 season. .... The Packers are coming off a 37-36 victory in Dallas in which they came back from a 23-point halftime deficit to match the largest comeback in team history. ... The Packers control their own fate in the NFC North. With victories against the Steelers and at the Chicago Bears in Week 17, they will win the NFC North Division title. ... The Packers have won 13 consecutive home games in December, the longest current streak in the league.
To win, the Packers must ...
1. Have Eddie be ready. Lacy has rushed for more than 100 yards three times and has runs of 56 and 60 yards in the past seven games.
2. Shield(s) Brown. No team has been able to shut down Antonio Brown, who has at least five catches and 50 yards in every game.
3. Get (field) goals from Crosby. Mason Crosby, last in the league with a 63.6 percent conversion rate last season, has made 30 of 34 field goals this season.
To win, the Steelers must ...
1. Apply a full Nelson. He has just 15 catches and one TD in the past four games, but he tormented the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV with nine catches, 140 yards and a TD.
2. Ring the Bell. In two of the past four games, the Packers have allowed 232 yards rushing to the Vikings and 241 yards to the Lions.
3. Be racy with Lacy. He has struggled in blitz protection and is responsible for 41/2 sacks -- the most by a Packers rookie in more than 20 years.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

Back-to-back come-from-behind victories have the Green Bay Packers in control of their postseason chances, but they'll have to make do without Aaron Rodgers for at least one more week.
Rodgers will miss his seventh straight game due to a fractured left collarbone Sunday against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving Matt Flynn under center again as the Packers try to keep pace in the NFC North.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that Rodgers looked good and thought he was ready to play but stressed that didn't constitute a clearance to return.
On Friday, the team announced that wouldn't be coming for at least another week. McCarthy said Rodgers has not received medical clearance yet, and that the organization feels Rodgers is not ready to play.
That means Green Bay will have to go without the QB who has thrown for 687 yards and six touchdowns without an interception in two career meetings with Pittsburgh (6-8). In the most recent, he was 24 of 39 for 304 yards with three scores to earn MVP honors in a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Since averaging 15.5 points while going winless in four games after losing Rodgers, the Packers (7-6-1) have found an offensive rhythm with Flynn in their last two. He's gone 50 of 71 for 557 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rallying Green Bay to back-to-back victories.
The Packers trailed visiting Atlanta by 11 at halftime before pulling out a 22-21 win Dec. 8, then stormed back from a 26-3 halftime deficit to stun Dallas 37-36 win last week.
Flynn led the team to five straight touchdown drives to open the second half as Green Bay matched the greatest comeback victory in its 93-year history.
"We're about getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it's an excellent team victory," McCarthy said. "Can't say enough about our football team, can't say how proud I am of each and every player just to stay the course, and that's exactly what they did."
The Packers can claim their third straight NFC North title by beating Pittsburgh and division-leading Chicago at Soldier Field.
The Steelers also remain alive for a postseason berth following a 30-20 win over AFC North-leading Cincinnati on Sunday, though they'll need a lot to go their way over the final two weeks.
Pittsburgh has to win out against the Packers and Browns, and have Miami, New York, San Diego and Baltimore finish with 8-8 records for the tiebreakers to work in its favor.
"I have said for a bunch of weeks now that there is going to be no quit from me or from anybody," said Ben Roethlisberger, who completed his first 13 passes and ended up 20 of 25 for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week while setting a team record for completions in a season with 340.
Since committing 15 turnovers -- 10 interceptions -- over his first nine games, Roethlisberger has two giveaways in his last five contests. He's thrown 12 touchdowns and one pick over that span.
In his only regular-season meeting with Green Bay, Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 yards and three scores -- including one on the final play -- in a 37-36 victory over the visiting Packers on Dec. 20, 2009.
Antonio Brown has been Roethlisberger's top target this season, reaching career highs with 95 catches for 1,307 yards and eight touchdowns. He scored for the fifth time in as many games in last week's win.
Green Bay's Eddie Lacy will try to find some holes in a Pittsburgh defense that's allowed fewer than 75 yards rushing in three of the last four games. The Steelers, however, will be without linebacker LaMarr Woodley for the rest of the season because of a strained right calf.
Defensive end Brett Keisel, who has missed four of the last five games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, will return to help contain Lacy, the Packers' first 1,000-yard rusher since Ryan Grant in 2009.
The rookie ran for 141 yards on 21 carries last week while adding his seventh touchdown in nine games.
The Packers have won two of three meetings in Green Bay. This is the teams' first matchup since 2005.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

Here we go Steelers! Let's set Bell up to beat the Packers in the running game. Got to start big against a good franchise that's on the ropes. We can't give this team any confidence early on!
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

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Originally Posted by harrison'samonster View Post
Here we go Steelers! Let's set Bell up to beat the Packers in the running game. Got to start big against a good franchise that's on the ropes. We can't give this team any confidence early on!
I would like to see Bell get his first hundred yard rushing game today.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

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Originally Posted by Galax Steeler View Post
I would like to see Bell get his first hundred yard rushing game today.
plus 100 yards receiving!
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Old 12-22-2013, 11:33 AM   #6
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Old 12-22-2013, 11:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

I have to work today. Again. But, that's the price I have to pay to be off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and it's worth it to enjoy the holidays with my family. Yay! Everyone have a great time. I'm so hoping our boys will win this game at Lambeau!

GO STEELERS!


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Old 12-22-2013, 02:03 PM   #8
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

Jarvis officially out
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Week 16 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Packers 12/22/2013

We can still do this!
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