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Monday, December 28, 2009
Pro Bowl announcement coming Tuesday

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Cedric Benson or Ray Rice?

Ray Lewis or James Farrior?

Should the injured Troy Polamalu get in? What about Ed Reed?

All questions will be answered Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the NFL announces its 2009 Pro Bowl rosters.

Here are a couple candidates for each team who could make it:

Baltimore Ravens: RB Rice, LB Lewis

Why: I've been saying for about a month that Rice deserves his first Pro Bowl honor. He leads the Ravens in rushing (1,269 yards) and receptions (74). But the competition at tailback is always deep. Lewis is having another solid season at middle linebacker. It’s debatable whether it’s another Pro Bowl year. But Lewis won the fan vote, which goes a long way.

Cincinnati Bengals: RB Benson, WR Chad Ochocinco

Why: Benson is having a breakout season with 1,251 rushing yards and six touchdowns. His totals would be even higher if he didn't miss two games. Ochocinco (72 receptions, 1,047 yards, nine touchdowns) has quietly put up good numbers for Cincinnati, despite playing in a ball-control offense this year. When you consider his improved blocking, he's having one of the best all-around seasons. But will it be enough?

Cleveland Browns: KR Joshua Cribbs, LT Joe Thomas

Why: Cribbs should get into the Pro Bowl on special teams. He's been the most dangerous kick returner in the NFL this season. Thomas has made the Pro Bowl each of his first two seasons. He’s one of the few Browns with name recognition to have a chance.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger, LB James Harrison

Why: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts make it every year. But that third quarterback spot is always a rotating door in the AFC. Roethlisberger has a good chance to fill it after throwing for more than 4,000 yards this season. Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison won the fan vote and has double-digit sacks for the second straight year. Teammate LaMarr Woodley also should get some consideration.

Check back with the AFC North blog Tuesday evening for instant analysis on who made the cut and who didn't.