PITTSBURGH-Mid-week news and commentary:
* The Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat Cincinnati to improve to 10-3, have three games left.
It's not unrealistic to expect the Steelers to run the table and finish 13-3.
Four weeks ago, this Sunday's home game against the New York Jets looked like trouble. It appears less daunting now.
The Jets are struggling.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez is throwing interceptions and fumbling, which can't be good for his confidence.
The Steelers' defense feasts against quarterbacks who show the slightest anxiety.
The problem, of course, is the Steelers' offense, which didn't manage a touchdown in the game against the Bengals.
The defense should be good enough to beat the Jets, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns to close the regular season.
But if there's a playoff matchup against New England looming, the Steelers had better be able to match Tom Brady's output.
There are three weeks left to get the offense in gear.
* Steelers players complain that NFL officials don't protect Ben Roethlisberger.
They have a point after the last two weeks.
Roethlisberger had his nose broken on a play that didn't draw a flag. (It did result in a fine after the NFL office reviewed the tapes).
In the Cincinnati game, he was dealt a blow to the head that didn't merit a penalty.
The missed calls are not an NFL conspiracy, tempting as that paranoid theory may be.
Roethlisberger has a reputation for battling through potential tackles better than other quarterbacks do.
Take your pick: Do you want fast flags if that also means early whistles because Roethlisberger is in the grasp of a defender?
That ability to make plays under duress is part of what separates him from most other NFL quarterbacks.
* Pitt is still looking for a head football coach.
The panic is palpable among some Panthers fans as qualified candidates are taking other jobs.
Settle down. There are plenty of talented coaches out there. They may not have familiar names, but what does that matter?
That said, it's in Pitt's interest to sign someone sooner rather than later just to stabilize recruiting efforts.
* The Pittsburgh Penguins offer full access to HBO for a mini reality series leading up to the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.
I don't have HBO, so someone will have to tell me what the shows look like.
The NHL has opened all the doors, part of commissioner Gary Bettman's grand plan to get a better TV contract.
Hey, what does he care? They're not eavesdropping on his meetings.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.