Steelers-Packers Preview

Back-to-back come-from-behind victories have the Green Bay

Packers in control of their postseason chances, but they’ll have to

make do without Aaron Rodgers for at least one more week.

Rodgers will miss his seventh straight game due to a fractured

left collarbone Sunday against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers,

leaving Matt Flynn under center again as the Packers try to keep

pace in the NFC North.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that Rodgers looked good and

thought he was ready to play but stressed that didn’t constitute a

clearance to return.

On Friday, the team announced that wouldn’t be coming for at

least another week. McCarthy said Rodgers has not received medical

clearance yet, and that the organization feels Rodgers is not ready

to play.

That means Green Bay will have to go without the QB who has

thrown for 687 yards and six touchdowns without an interception in

two career meetings with Pittsburgh (6-8). In the most recent, he

was 24 of 39 for 304 yards with three scores to earn MVP honors in

a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV.

Since averaging 15.5 points while going winless in four games

after losing Rodgers, the Packers (7-6-1) have found an offensive

rhythm with Flynn in their last two. He’s gone 50 of 71 for 557

yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rallying

Green Bay to back-to-back victories.

The Packers trailed visiting Atlanta by 11 at halftime before

pulling out a 22-21 win Dec. 8, then stormed back from a 26-3

halftime deficit to stun Dallas 37-36 win last week.

Flynn led the team to five straight touchdown drives to open the

second half as Green Bay matched the greatest comeback victory in

its 93-year history.

”We’re about getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but

it’s an excellent team victory,” McCarthy said. “Can’t say enough

about our football team, can’t say how proud I am of each and every

player just to stay the course, and that’s exactly what they

did.”

The Packers can claim their third straight NFC North title by

beating Pittsburgh and division-leading Chicago at Soldier

Field.

The Steelers also remain alive for a postseason berth following

a 30-20 win over AFC North-leading Cincinnati on Sunday, though

they’ll need a lot to go their way over the final two weeks.

Pittsburgh has to win out against the Packers and Browns, and

have Miami, New York, San Diego and Baltimore finish with 8-8

records for the tiebreakers to work in its favor.

”I have said for a bunch of weeks now that there is going to be

no quit from me or from anybody,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who

completed his first 13 passes and ended up 20 of 25 for 191 yards

with a touchdown and an interception last week while setting a team

record for completions in a season with 340.

Since committing 15 turnovers – 10 interceptions – over his

first nine games, Roethlisberger has two giveaways in his last five

contests. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and one pick over that

span.

In his only regular-season meeting with Green Bay,

Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 yards and three scores –

including one on the final play – in a 37-36 victory over the

visiting Packers on Dec. 20, 2009.

Antonio Brown has been Roethlisberger’s top target this season,

reaching career highs with 95 catches for 1,307 yards and eight

touchdowns. He scored for the fifth time in as many games in last

week’s win.

Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy will try to find some holes in a

Pittsburgh defense that’s allowed fewer than 75 yards rushing in

three of the last four games. The Steelers, however, will be

without linebacker LaMarr Woodley for the rest of the season

because of a strained right calf.

Defensive end Brett Keisel, who has missed four of the last five

games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, will return to help

contain Lacy, the Packers’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ryan Grant

in 2009.

The rookie ran for 141 yards on 21 carries last week while

adding his seventh touchdown in nine games.

The Packers have won two of three meetings in Green Bay. This is

the teams’ first matchup since 2005.