PITTSBURGH - Midweek news and commentary:
It's Green Bay.
Can't ask for a much better match-up than that.
Plenty of NFL tradition, and the Packers are the best from the NFC, their wild-card status notwithstanding.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a playmaker with some excellent receivers. The Packers seem to have as many problems on the offensive line as the Steelers do.
Despite that, they've found a way to get to the Super Bowl, even though they've had the toughest path.
The concern about the Steelers (apart from the offensive line) is the ability of the defense to hold up over a full game.
The unit didn't do that against the New York Jets.
They were in full retreat for much of the second half, and the suspicion here is that's why Mike Tomlin was willing to throw the ball on the Steelers' final possession.
It looks as though he said some trepidation about handing the game over to the defense with a mandate to stop the Jets.
The Steelers have some age on the defensive side of the ball, and they have Troy Polamalu playing on a bad leg.
The Steel Curtain has picked up some dents over a long season.
Smith to play?
Will Aaron Smith play?
He probably shouldn't.
It's been a long time since Smith, the Steelers' stellar defensive end, has played. He's returned to practice, but his surgically-repaired torn triceps muscle hasn't allowed him to get into games.
At this point, it's not realistic to expect much from him.
It would be nice to let him suit up, but this isn't a time for symbolism.
Beyond what happens here, the Steelers need to start looking for Smith's permanent replacement.
As good as he's been over the years, this is the second straight season where he's spent more time on the sidelines than in action.
He'll be 35 next year, so it's probably time to move on.
Crosby remains out
Tuesday's game against the New York Islanders was the ninth Sidney Crosby missed because of what the Pittsburgh Penguins initially labeled as a "mild" concussion.
Crosby hasn't even skated or worked out since Jan. 5.
Even if he's ready to go after the All-Star break - and that's far from sure - he'll be out at least a month.
Pity the people who saved their money for expensive tickets, then got stuck with a game both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missed.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org