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Pittsburgh Steelers Look to Close 2013 on a High Note

December 29th, 2013 at 12:02 AM
By Mark Mihalko
The 7-8 Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an impressive come from behind victory against the Green Bay Packers. During their Week 16 victory, the injury plagued defense was uneven and the offense came to life behind quarterback Ben Roethlisbergers’ three touchdown performance.  This week, they will look to stack another win when they host the always tough Cleveland Browns in the season finale.
'Winding Up' photo (c) 2006, Joey Gannon - license:
The Steelers will also be watching the scoreboard, as the team is still mathematically alive for a playoff birth with a victory and a lot of help. Actually, maybe fans should view it as a victory and a miracle, as they need the New York Jets to win and the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers all to lose. Yes, a miracle. 
The key to the scenario is a victory and to get there they need to see continued improvements on both sides of the ball. That is especially the case for  the defense, who enter the game battling some injuries and could have depth issues at both inside and outside linebacker.  In the first match-up, the Steelers watched their secondary get torched by wide receiver Josh Gordon and cannot afford to give up the same production in the finale. 
Key Match-Up: The Steelers offensive line against the Browns defense. The Browns feature one of the stoutest front sevens the Steelers have faced and have enough talent in their secondary to cause problems. This week, the Steelers will need to control the Browns front and open some cracks for Le’Veon Bell to keep the defense honest.
Projected Inactive List: Unlike past weeks, there will be some interesting names on this list as the team is relatively healthy. Linebacker Terence Garvin (knee) has already been declared out and will be on the sidelines. He could be joined by two starters wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) and Jason Worilds (abdomen). While both are listed as questionable, it is likely that both will be game time decisions. Of the two Worilds is more likely to be active, as the team did not announce a promotion for linebacker Kion Wilson, if Worilds could not go, that would have been an automatic move. 
Sanders says he will give it a go in what is potentially his last game in Pittsburgh, if he cannot  Derek Moye will likely be active with Sanders taking his spot on the inactive list. With Garvin and Moye inactive, the team will round out the inactives with some familiar faces. Quarterback Landry Jones, defensive end Brian Arnfelt, offensive guard David Snow, nose tackle Hebron Fangupo, and cornerback Isaiah Green should all be on the sidelines. 
Prediction:  To this point, the 2013 season has been crazy for both the Steelers and their fans. Now they face a Browns franchise that will give them fits. This will be an interesting contest, but it is a game that the Steelers can win if their defense can regain some confidence and the offense continues to trend upward. This one could go either way, but they close out the season on a high note, 37-17 Steelers. 
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Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, derek moye, Emmanuel Sanders, Football, Jason Worilds, Josh Gordon, Landry Jones, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Terence Garvin

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