--S Troy Polamalu (leg) has been ruled out of Thursday's game against the Panthers.
--QB Ben Roethlisberger aggravated his broken right foot Sunday against the Jets, but it will not hold him back Thursday.
--OT Jonathan Scott will start on the left side Thursday. There was some question after Scott did not play in the final series after missing a block on a safety.
--LB James Farrior has four of his five sacks in the past five games and now is third on the team. His career high of six came in 2007, and he's never had more than four until now.
--LB Lawrence Timmons is on his way to winning his first team tackles title. He has 138, 13 more than perennial leader James Farrior.
--RB Rashard Mendenhall will finish with one of the most productive rushing seasons in Steelers history. With 1,173 yards, he needs 166 yards in the final two games to move into the top five and just 10 yards to move into the top 10.
The Steelers will key on the run, as they normally do on defense, but especially against the Panthers. That is Carolina's strength, and Pittsburgh doesn't expect rookie QB Jimmy Clausen to pass much. On offense, the Steelers want to run and not give the heavy underdogs any chances of forcing a few turnovers that might keep them in the game.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
LB James Harrison, the Steelers' top sacker with 10, vs. Pro Bowl LT Jordan Gross. Harrison hasn't had a sack in the past three games.
The Steelers' No. 1-ranked rush defense vs. RB Jonathan Stewart, who leads the Panthers with 668 yards and a 4.5-yard average.
The Steelers' pass rush, tied for third in the league with 40 sacks, vs. the Panthers' pass protection, which has allowed 43 sacks, second most in the NFL.
SS Troy Polamalu (Achilles) will not play, missing his second game. Ryan Mundy will start again at SS. WR Arnaz Bettle (bruised chest) did not practice Tuesday and may not play. That's it for significant injuries, except for DE Aaron Smith (triceps), who will not return until at least the playoffs.
Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.