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Live from Heinz Field - Dec. 20
December 20, 2009 - Buck Frank
30 degree temperature at kickoff. Word in press box is Brett Keisel gave emotional speech to the team in the locker room.
Jets lost to Atlanta, so some things are falling into place for the Steelers, if they can get a win. Please refer to Ray Eckenrode's blog for all possible playoff scenarios.
One hour until kickoff
Inactive lists are in, and Steelers second-year tackle Tony Hills is active for the game. Could he actually see playing time for the first time?
Left guard Chris Kemoeatu will be replaced by rookie Ramon Foster. In addition to Troy Polamalu, other Steelers not dessing today include WR Limas Sweed (illness), CB Keenan Lewis, OG Kraig Urbik and DEs Nick Eason and Sunny Harris. Charlie Batch is the third QB.
Lewis had been rumored to possibly start over William Gay or Ike Taylor a few weeks ago, but he hasn't even been active. His special teams play is keeping him from dressing on gameday.
For the Packers, Shippensburg University's John Kuhn, an ex-Steeler, won't be active for the game. Korey Hall is scheduled to start at fullback in place of Kuhn.
Also, rookie B.J. Raji is going to start in place of injured Ryan Pickett at nose tackle. However, Pickett is active for the game.
Less than two hours until kickoff:
No evidence of snow on the playing surface at Heinz Field. Field actually looks good for late December. Playing the Packers in late December is no advantage for the Steelers, though.
Lots of cheeseheads here today. You get the feeling many Steelers fans sold their tickets because of the cold weather, the holiday and the Steelers' five-game losing streak.
It will be interesting to see what the crowd ends up looking like. My guess is you'll be able to hear Packers fans, and you'll be able to see many empty seats.