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AFC title game
January 23, 2011 - Buck Frank
One hour before kickoff:
Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden will give it a go today. He's not on the inactive list. Here are the Steelers inactive today: Safety Will Allen, who was injured against the Ravens; running back Jonathan Dwyer, cornerback Crezdon Butler; tackles Chris Scott and Tony Hills; defensive tackle Steve McLendon and defensive end Aaron Smith. Charlie Batch is the third quarterback.
The only significant effect from the inactive list is that Keenan Lewis will replace Allen for special teams duty.
The Jets' Brad Smith, the guy who returned the kickoff for the touchdown in the first meeting with the Steelers, will play today, as will defensive end Shaun Ellis. Both were questionable.
Inactive for the Jets are defensive end Vernon Gholston, defensive tackle Jaaron Gilbert, tight ends Matthew Mulligan and Jeff Cumberland, receiver Patrick Turner, fullback John Conner and defensive tackle Marcus Dixon. Kellen Clemens is the third quarter.
Two hours before kickoff:
Road signs heading into Pittsburgh today read, "You're on the road to the AFC Championship.' Of course, Steelers fans are hoping those roads eventually head toward Dallas.
The temperature outside here in Pittsburgh is in the low 20s right now. It is expected to decrease more once the sun goes down for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff. It could rank as one of the top coldest games in Steelers history.
The big news right now with the Steelers is whether or not Ben Roethlisberger has a voice. Apparently he's been having trouble with it the last few days and may have trouble barking out signals.
The other piece of news we're waiting for is whether Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden will be on the inactive list or not. He's been having trouble with an abdominal strain the last few weeks and only practiced on Friday. He had trouble getting through that practice, too. If he can't go, that shifts William Gay into the starting lineup with Anthony Madison in the nickel spot. With Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards on the other side of the field, that wouldn't be an ideal situation for the Steelers.
The press box here at Heinz Field has never been more crowded. It's a zoo with all of the media coming from the New York area.