Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Steelers getting healthy for Eagles
By Dan Graziano
The Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday will be in Pittsburgh to face a Steelers team that's coming off its bye week and, it appears, getting several key players back from injury. Linebacker James Harrison, who has yet to play this year due to a knee injury, and safety Troy Polamalu, who has missed the past two games with a calf injury, are expected to play. The Steelers also believe they could have running back Rashard Mendenhall for the first time this season.
Without Harrison this year, as AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley points out in that there link, the Steelers have just five sacks. Only two teams -- Jacksonville and Oakland -- have fewer. Without Polamalu, the Steelers have forced only two turnovers in their last two games. Getting the two of them back could be a major boost against an Eagles team that is banged-up on the offensive line and turned the ball over 12 times in its first three games before going turnover-free in Sunday's victory over the Giants.
Without Mendenhall, the Steelers rank 31st in the league this year with 65 rushing yards per game. It remains to be seen how healthy Mendenhall will be or how much work they'll give him in his first game back after offseason knee surgery. But if he's able to run, it's a fair bet the Steelers will be happy to use him over the crew that's been rolling up 65 a game in his absence.
The Eagles go into Pittsburgh 3-1 and on a high after their big divisional win, but the 1-2 team they're going there to face might be a little stronger than it's looked in the early going.