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|12-19-2011, 05:55 AM||#1|
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Steelers Playbook: at 49ers
Steelers Playbook: at 49ers
Mike Bires Times Sports Staff | Posted: Sunday, December 18, 2011 11:45 pm
STEELERS (10-3) vs. 49ERS (10-3)
GAME INFO: 8:30 p.m. at Candlestick Park (69,732)
TV: ESPN (locally WTAE); Mike Tirico, play-by play; Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski, analysis.
RADIO: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970), WBVP-AM (1230), WMBA-AM (1460)
Two of the NFL’s most storied franchises meet on primetime national TV in a showdown with postseason implications, even though both have already clinched playoff spots. At the least, the Steelers (10-3) will be a wild card. But they have a chance to surpass the Ravens for first place in the AFC North. Baltimore took a 10-3 record into its game Sunday night in San Diego. The 49ers (10-3), winners of the NFC West, want to maintain the No. 2 seed in the conference. If they beat the Steelers, they'll still hold a tiebreaker edge over the Saints (11-3).
11: That’s how many Super Bowls won by the Steelers (six) and 49ers (five). No team has more Lombardi trophies than the Steelers. The Cowboys also have five.
Steelers: The most intriguing issue on the injury front is QB Ben Roethlisberger’s availability. He is listed as questionable with a high ankle sprain. If Roethlisberger can’t play, Charlie Batch will start. C Maurkice Pouncey has the same injury as Roethlisberger and has been ruled out. Also sitting out is WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot) and LB Chris Carter (hamstring). SS Troy Polamalu (hamstring) is probable.
49ers: Star LB Patrick Willis (hamstring) didn’t practice this week but is still questionable. Two other starters are questionable -- T Joe Staley (concussion) and WR Braylon Edwards (knee).
“I will tell them Mike Wallace is fast.” Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, on San Fran coach Jim Harbaugh calling his brother, John, who coaches the Ravens, and asking for advice on how to beat the Steelers.
The 49ers are favored by 3.
The 49ers may play in the league’s weakest division, but their 10-3 record isn’t a fluke. The NFL leaders in fewest points allowed (14.0 ppg) have road wins over the Bengals (8-6), Eagles (6-8) and Lions (9-5). And they only lost in Baltimore, 16-6. The Steelers are 0-2 vs. the Ravens including a 35-7 opening-day loss in Baltimore. With Roethlisberger questionable, Pouncey out and LB James Harrison serving a one-game suspension, the Steelers will be hard-pressed to win in a hostile environment. The Steelers may be 4-2 away from home, but they struggled to beat the Colts (1-13) and Chiefs (6-8) on the road. 49ers 19, Steelers 17
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