The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the biggest game of their season against the Cincinnati Bengals. For all intensive purposes, their playoffs start this week and sadly, they are still not 100 percent healthy.Ike Taylor out, the Steelers hope to have both Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen back in the line-up Sunday. Unfortunately, after being limited in practice on Wednesday, Lewis, the teams’ best cornerback at the moment, did not practice on Thursday. A fact that leaves his availability in doubt as the week nears an end.
If he cannot go, Allen will be asked to keep Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green in check, with Josh Victorian, Curtis Brown, safety Robert Golden and even possibly newly signed cornerback Justin King may play a larger role than expected.
Defensively, the Steelers will also have to focus on stopping the surging Bengals running game and to do this, they will have to focus on using only the front seven, as the banged up secondary may need to stay back. Luckily, that area of the defense appears to be healthy and ready to go. Two players, Cameron Heyward (Undisclosed) and Al Woods (Illness) both returned to practice on Thursday after missing practice on Wednesday.
Offensively, the wide receiving corps may be at full speed, as Emmanuel Sanders (Shoulder/Ribs) went through a full practice on Thursday and may be available for action. If he cannot go, look for Plaxico Burress to work his way into the rotation for the important Sunday afternoon contest.
The offensive line also welcomed a player back to workouts, as offensive tackle returned to the field for the first time since injuring his ankle. While he was limited, he too could be available in a back-up capacity behind rookie Kelvin Beachum on the right side of the offensive line next to David DeCastro. Yes, there have been some growing pains, but the action seen by these three rookie linemen will pay dividends in future seasons.
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