No need to rush Harrison, Polamalu

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
2:48
PM ET
The Steelers will be without two former NFL Defensive Players of the Year for a second straight week, as Pittsburgh has ruled out linebacker James Harrison (knee) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf).

But do the Steelers really need them Sunday? Pittsburgh is going against an Oakland offense that averages 13.5 points, the second fewest in the league. The Steelers are also going against quarterback Carson Palmer, who lost nine of his 13 meetings with Pittsburgh when he was with the Bengals.

Pittsburgh has shown it could handle a marginal offense without two of its biggest playmakers on defense. Last Sunday, the Steelers limited the Jets to 219 yards and 10 points without those Pro Bowl players.

The Raiders have gained 68 yards on the ground this season, and Oakland's receivers have twice as many drops (four) as touchdown catches (two).

Harrison recorded a sack in three of his past four meetings with Palmer, who started for the Bengals from 2004 to 2010. Polamalu has three interceptions against Palmer, two returned for touchdowns (in 2004 and 2010).

There is a chance that this will be the final time both Harrison and Polamalu will sit out. The hope is that they will return after next week's bye.

Tight end Heath Miller, who has scored a touchdown in each of the first two games, returned to practice for the first time this week and is considered probable with an abdomen injury.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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