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Prime-time matchup

November 14, 2010 - Buck Frank
The Steelers and Patriots have produced some memorable games over the last 10 seasons, in the regular season and the playoffs. A bunch of the players who participated in those games -- names like Vrabel, Bruschi, Harrison, Porter, Dillon, Burress, Bettis, McGinest, Seymour -- are gone, but both teams have continued to stay near or at the top of the NFL. Both teams are 6-2 this year, but both have concerns entering tonight's game. The Steelers will be without Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel on the defensive line and Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu on the offensive line. Star linebacker James Harrison has also been having problems with back spasms, but he is dressing for the game. The Patriots won't have veteran running back Fred Taylor, they no longer have a deep threat with Randy Moss gone, and Tom Brady has been limping on a bad foot all week in practice. With so many personnel adjustments on both sides, the guess here is the better coached team will win tonight. That's why I'm picking the Patriots. Pregame notes: --A light rain fell in Pittsburgh for several hours before the game, and the Heinz Field surface was not covered. --The Steelers will wear their throwback uniforms for the second (and presumably the last) time this season. --In addition to Kemoeatu, Keisel and Smith, the Steelers have de-activated safety Will Allen (concussion), tackle Chris Scott (just taken off PUP list), receiver Antonio Brown (can't supplant Emmanuel Sanders) and running back Jonathan Dwyer (as usual). Chalie Batch is the third QB. --Ex-Penn State offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger is on the Patriots' inactive list. --The Steelers will honor several former players at halftime, most notably Dermontti Dawson.

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