Steelers try to keep pace with division rivals


PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers game against the Chicago Bears may have turned into even more of a must-win situation based on what happened in the early games Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens flexed their muscles in a beat down of the Houston Texans. The Cincinnati Bengals got out of their own way long enough to beat the Green Bay Packers.

And the Cleveland Browns pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the season when they stunned the Vikings in Minnesota -- less than a week after they traded Trent Richardson and a year after taking the running back third overall in the 2012 NFL draft.

A Steelers loss against the Bears would drop them to 0-3 and leave them looking up at everyone else in the AFC North.

Pittsburgh’s North Shore has been abuzz with activity since late Sunday morning due to a rather unique doubleheader.

The Pirates played their final home game of the season though it’s debatable whether they actually showed up as the Reds pounded them. But fans packed PNC Park just as they are expected to do at Heinz Field tonight.

The stadiums aren’t separated by more than a couple of football fields, which means departing Pirates fans and arriving Steelers’ fans/tailgaters could make traffic on the North Shore more of a mess than the Steelers’ ground game.

The skies are overcast sand temperatures are supposed to dip into the 40s Sunday night. But weather isn’t expected to be an issue when the Bears visit Heinz Field for the first time since 2005.

I’ll have more later on our chat as players start trickling onto the field for pre-game warm-ups.

All eyes, of course, will be on tight end Heath Miller, who is expected to play nine months after having reconstructive knee surgery.

Miller practiced all three days last week, and he should be good to go barring a late setback.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers have Miller on snap count.