Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) talks with head
coach Mike McCarthy during the first half of an NFL football
game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
GREEN BAY -
Tradition-rich franchises. Big-name quarterbacks. Super Bowl
Doesn't get much
more interesting in the NFL than the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green
Bay Packers in December at frigid Lambeau Field.
Throw in the
Packers' late push for the playoffs, and this matchup has the
makings of must-see viewing Sunday afternoon.
"Man, if you
asked me a couple weeks ago if we'd be in this spot, I would have
told you, 'I don't think so,'" Packers guard T.J. Lang said.
"But hey, this is what football is about. Comes down to the
last couple games, and we've put ourselves in position to have a
come-from-behind victories have helped ease the sting of playing
without quarterback Aaron Rodgers (broken left collarbone). The
Packers (7-6-1) are back in control of their playoff destiny —
wins Sunday over the Steelers and next week over the Bears get
them the NFC North title.
(6-8) remain on the fringes of the playoff race and need a lot of
Miami is one of
three teams ahead of them in the chase for the second AFC wild
card. The Dolphins play the Bills early Sunday, so it's possible
the Steelers may officially be out of the postseason picture by
the time they kick off in Green Bay later in the day.
know what scenario it takes for us to get in," tight end
Heath Miller said. "I just know we're going to put in all the
effort we can into winning the game this weekend."
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, left, looks to pass
as Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict
(55) defends in the third quarter an NFL football game on
Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Five things to
watch ahead of the teams' first meeting since the Packers beat the
Steelers 31-25 in the Super Bowl in 2011:
Backup Matt Flynn was preparing to make his fourth straight start
in place of the injured Rodgers. The 2011 NFL MVP has been inching
closer to coming back, but needed medical clearance.
After an 0-4-1
stretch without Rodgers, the Packers have won two straight with
Flynn. He's growing more comfortable each week and helping Green
Bay play better late in games, which had been a season-long
Since Week 12,
Flynn has a 128.3 passer rating in fourth quarters, completing 28
of 39 throws for 301 yards with four touchdowns and no
Packers running back Eddie Lacy leads the league in rushing since
Oct. 1 with 977 yards. He could have been taking those handoffs
from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
considered taking the Alabama rookie in the draft, but instead
went with Michigan State product Le'Veon Bell because of his
Bell has 646
yards on 198 carries on the season, one carry short of the team
rookie record. With 43 catches, he's nine receptions short of the
team mark for most catches for a running back in a season.
right or wrong, globally speaking," coach Mike Tomlin said.
"It's about what's right for you and Le'Veon Bell was right
RIDING HIGH: The
Packers set a franchise record by rebounding from a 23-point
halftime deficit last week to beat Dallas, an emotional high in
the team's injury-filled, roller coaster of a season.
McCarthy planned to address his team about guarding against a
letdown, though it's hard to imagine that might happen with the
playoffs within sight.
we're not going to have any problems focusing on what we still
have ahead of us," Lacy said.
The Packers and the Steelers represent two of the league's model
franchises, with stable ownerships and loyal, national fan bases.
Together, they've combined for 19 world championships, including
the NFL-best 13 for the Packers. Pittsburgh's six titles are the
most by any AFC team.
But Super Bowl
losses still sting.
that close and you come up short, that's something you never
forget," Miller said.
TRIPLE SIXES: Two
weeks, two straight ominous-sounding stat lines for Packers tight
end Andrew Quarless: six catches, 66 yards.
had jokes about it, but it's something I prayed on, and I told 'em
next time, hopefully I get six for 100," Quarless said.
importantly for the Packers' offense is that Quarless has caught
touchdowns in two straight games. Tight end is a factor for the
first time since Jermichael Finley (neck) got hurt in Week 7.