NFL Playoff News and Notes

NFL Playoff News and Notes

Steelers' worrisome injury list for playoffs: long, and still growing
January 1, 2008

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin keeps erasing names on that depth chart on his office wall. Many teams list players three deep at most positions, but the Steelers can't begin to do that.

Two-deep? Can't do that, either.

At left tackle, there's Trai Essex, then no one. At fullback, there's Carey Davis, then no one. At right tackle, there's Willie Colon, then no one.

And if these Steelers lose to Jacksonville at home Saturday night in the AFC playoffs? Tomlin's thinking is they will have no one to blame but themselves.

The Steelers may be without injured running back Willie Parker, defensive end Aaron Smith, offensive tackles Marvel Smith and Max Starks and safety Ryan Clark, but Tomlin said there is no time during a short work week to fret about such problems.

"Whoever hoists that Lombardi Trophy in a month or so will have had injury issues and will have found ways to overcome it," Tomlin said Tuesday. "We don't dwell on that. It's as much a part of the game as blocking and tackling. The healthy guys play and the standard of expectation doesn't change."

Still, the Steelers' already-bad injury situation got even worse when Starks was lost for the postseason with a meniscus injury in his knee that occurred during a 27-21 loss Sunday in Baltimore. Starks, the right tackle when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl two years ago, moved to left tackle when Marvel Smith developed a back problem several weeks ago.

For now, former third-stringer Essex is listed as the starter at left tackle. Another option is to shift Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca to left tackle and play Chris Kemoeatu, the only healthy backup lineman, at left guard.

"We're not going to tip our hand," Tomlin said. "Trai is the next guy up and the level of expectation will not change. Using common sense, he is the third person to have lined up at that position, so we've got to do some things schematically to help him."

Shifting Faneca to tackle is a strong possibility given the Steelers' season-long problems in protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked 47 times in 15 games. The club record is 51 sacks during Cliff Stoudt's one and only season as the starting quarterback in 1983.

The Steelers will add two players, but Tomlin said neither player who signs can be expected to play a major on-field role Saturday.

Also out is linebacker Clint Kriewaldt (neck), the special teams captain who was placed on the injured reserve list Tuesday.

Even the Steelers' so-called healthy players aren't truly so.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu made the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive season but, bothered by knee and shoulder injuries, has only infrequently been the player he was in the past. Wide receiver Hines Ward (knee), cornerbacks Deshea Townsend (foot) and Bryant McFadden (ankle), kick returner Allen Rossum (hamstring) and Roethlisberger (sprained ankle) also aren't 100 percent healthy.

The injuries are coming at key positions, too. Parker was leading the NFL with 1,316 yards rushing when he broke his right leg. Marvel Smith was Roethlisberger's blind-side protector. Aaron Smith is one of the NFL's best run defenders, and the Steelers have been roughed up for 494 yards rushing in three games without him.

The Steelers may not have been so beaten up for a playoff game since 1976. Then, playing without injured 1,000-yard rushers Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, their 10-game winning streak ended with a 24-7 loss to Oakland in the AFC championship game.

Tomlin won't speculate what effect the injuries have had on his team's late-season slide. The Steelers (10-6) have dropped three of four and four of seven and may be going into the playoffs with less momentum than any of the 12 qualifiers.

"That's a concern," Tomlin said when asked about the Steelers' confidence. "A lot of things are of concern. What lies ahead is an enormous playoff game versus a great football team at our place. ... If there is any hesitation, they better quickly get over it because the ball is going to be kicked off here shortly."

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Fisher optimistic Titans' Young can practice
December 31, 2007

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee quarterback Vince Young will be day to day this week after reinjuring his right quadriceps muscle. His status for Sunday's AFC wild-card game with San Diego could be in question.

"I can't really say right now if Vince is going to play this week," coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. "I have a good feeling he'll be back on the practice field, and we'll see how he goes."

Young missed a start Oct. 21 at Houston after straining his right quadriceps in Tampa on Oct. 14. He said he aggravated the muscle in the first half of Sunday night's 16-10 win at Indianapolis and tweaked it further in the third quarter.

He limped to the sideline a play later, was stretched by trainers and even went to the locker room for a few minutes. He did not return to the game, and backup Kerry Collins led the Titans to three straight field goals and the victory that clinched a playoff berth.

Fisher said Young was very excited about his play against the Colts, the win and the chance to play in a postseason game. Young was 14-of-18 for 157 yards when he left, and Fisher said Young could have returned to the game.

But Fisher said he isn't thinking of starting Collins, who was 10-of-13 for 106 yards, at San Diego.

The coach said they will evaluate Young through the week and is optimistic Young could practice. Fisher said he would give a complete injury report Wednesday and that Young was not among a few Titans having tests Monday.

Running back LenDale White, listed last week on the injury report because of a sore knee, split carries late against the Colts with Chris Henry. Chris Brown, who lost a fumble inside inside the Colts 10 in the second quarter, had his back tighten up.

Right guard Benji Olsen left the game in the second half and was replaced by Daniel Loper, while cornerback Nick Harper was replaced by Reynaldo Hill. Center Kevin Mawae missed his second straight game with a calf injury.

Young has struggled against 3-4 defenses like San Diego's. Asked if Young needed to practice to play, Fisher said he wouldn't get into hypotheticals.

"We'll just take it one day at a time. He would benefit from practice, yes. But he's also played them several weeks ago," Fisher said.

Young threw for 121 yards and was intercepted twice Dec. 9 in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Chargers in Nashville. He also was sacked once and ran only twice for 2 yards.

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Giants place S Dahl on IR
December 31st, 2007

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - The New York Giants placed rookie safety Craig Dahl on injured reserve Monday.

Dahl tore his anterior cruciate ligament covering a kickoff in the first quarter of Saturday's loss to New England. A free agent from North Dakota State, Dahl played in nine games with two starts this season, and totaled 18 tackles and five special teams tackles.

To replace Dahl on the roster, the Giants signed defensive back Geoffrey Pope off their practice squad.

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Cheat sheet for the NFL playoffs  

AFC

No. 1 seed: Patriots
Pluses: The quarterback and wide receiver are sensational, the coach is the best and the players covet rings like J-Lo.

Minuses: Foul weather could foul up the Pats' passing game. Their secondary is vulnerable if the opposing QB gets protection.

Bottom line: It will be bigger news if the perfect Patriots don't win the Super Bowl than if they do.

Momentum: Full speed ahead.

No. 2 seed: Colts

Pluses: Peyton Manning can pick apart any opponent. Indy's defense is quick and smart, and its big-game experience makes it panic-proof.

Minuses: The pass rush is weak, and if anything happens to hard-hitting safety Bob Sanders, the defense becomes average.

Bottom line: The Colts are the NFL's second-best team. If they can get past the Patriots, they'll repeat.

Momentum: Full speed ahead.

No. 3 seed: Chargers

Pluses: San Diego's defensive playmakers force turnovers. Having the world's best running back makes everyone else on offense better.

Minuses: If you contain LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers won't beat you. This team has been spooked by playoff pressure in the past.

Bottom line: In the NFC, the Chargers would be a serious Super Bowl threat. In the AFC, they'll fall short.

Momentum: Full speed ahead.

No. 4 seed: Steelers

Pluses:Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's unit is consistently good. Ben Roethlisberger is having a great season with little fanfare.

Minuses:The Steelers are a bad road team. Their offense will lack balance without Willie Parker, and Roethlisberger must be superb.

Bottom line: They peaked too early, and the AFC is too tough for a team to fake its way through.

Momentum: Going backward.

No. 5 seed: Jaguars

Pluses: The NFL's most physical team pounds people with its running game and defense. Play the Jaguars, bring Tylenol.

Minuses: The offense lacks big-play ability. When the Jaguars fall behind by more than a touchdown, they have trouble coming back.

Bottom line: The Jags are best equipped to upset the Patriots, but a lack of playoff experience hurts.

Momentum: Headed in the right direction.

No. 6 seed: Titans

Pluses: The defensive line creates havoc, the running game is solid, and the kicker can win a game if the team keeps it close.

Minuses: Vince Young has had an up-and-down year and is coming off a quadriceps injury. His receiving unit isn't star-studded, either.

Bottom line: The Titans have come on of late, but they have too many holes to make a playoff run.

Momentum: Stalled.

NFC

No. 1 seed: Cowboys

Pluses: Their offense is always on the attack. They have the stars on the field to match the stars on their helmets.

Minuses: Jessica Simpson's favorite QB occasionally has a clunker. Tony Romo and T.O. must be right for the Cowboys to win.

Bottom line: With the road to Glendale going through Dallas, this team should reach the Super Bowl.

Momentum: Stalled.

No. 2 seed: Packers

Pluses: No team has improved more since Week 1. A legendary quarterback leads a talented young nucleus.

Minuses: Brett Favre doesn't win in Dallas. And when he plays from behind, he starts throwing more passes to the other team.

Bottom line: Failing to gain home-field advantage will be the Packers' undoing unless Dallas loses in Round 2.

Momentum: Headed in the right direction.

No. 3 seed: Seahawks

Pluses: Mike Holmgren's play-calling and Matt Hasselbeck's smarts make for a dynamite offense. Who needs a running game?

Minuses: An easy schedule made the Seahawks look better than they are. They didn't play the Cowboys, Packers or Giants.

Bottom line: It's hard to see Seattle winning more than one playoff game -- even with a hot Hasselbeck.

Momentum: Stalled.

No. 4 seed: Bucs

Pluses: The Bucs' quarterback (Jeff Garcia) and coach (Jon Gruden) are playoff proven. The defense features savvy veterans.

Minuses: The red zone offense and running game are concerns. They've lost their edge since clinching the division.

Bottom line: The Bucs had a nice season, but they're not good enough to win the NFC.

Momentum: Going backward.

No. 5 seed: Giants

Pluses: A terrific pass rush, a consistent running game and mental toughness give the Giants a chance in any game.

Minuses: Eli Manning is inconsistent and plays poorly in bad weather, which will make a long playoff run more difficult.

Bottom line: The Giants are excellent on the road and could be a sleeper. But more than one playoff win is unlikely.

Momentum: Stalled.

No. 6 seed: Redskins

Pluses: The Redskins win with a strong running game, a low-risk offense and a swarming defense that hits hard and tackles well.

Minuses: They have trouble scoring, so when their defense comes up short, they have little chance of winning.

Bottom line: No NFC team has played better December football. Washington will be a tough out.

Momentum: Full speed ahead.

Predictions

AFC wild-card round: Chargers over Titans; Jaguars over Steelers

AFC divisional round: Patriots over Jaguars; Colts over Chargers

AFC championship: Patriots over Colts

NFC wild-card round: Seahawks over Redskins; Buccaneers over Giants

NFC divisional round: Cowboys over Buccaneers; Packers over Seahawks

NFC championship: Cowboys over Packers

Super Bowl 42: Patriots over Cowboys; MVP: Tom Brady

sportingnews.com.

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Steelers add 2 linemen, former Olympic skier Bloom
January 2, 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Steelers promoted offensive lineman Jonathan Parquet from their practice squad Wednesday and signed rookie offensive lineman Jason Capizzi for the second time.

The Steelers made the moves after losing starting tackles Marvel Smith and Max Starks to injuries in the last three weeks. Smith needed back surgery and Starks, who had replaced Smith at left tackle, tore the meniscus in a knee during a 27-21 loss Sunday in Baltimore.

Starks and special teams captain Clint Kriewaldt (neck) were placed on the injured reserve list, officially ending their seasons.

With two of their top three tackles out, the Steelers will play third-teamer Trai Essex at left tackle in their AFC wild-card game Saturday night against Jacksonville. Or they will shift Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca to tackle and start Chris Kemoeatu at left guard.

Parquet, a seventh-round pick by Kansas City in 2005, spent time with the Rams the last two seasons. Capizzi, an undrafted rookie from Indiana (Pa.) University, was cut by Pittsburgh during training camp. He was on the practice squads of the Buccaneers, Jets and Chiefs during the regular season.

The Steelers also added wide receiver Jeremy Bloom to their practice squad. Bloom, a former Olympic skier and Colorado receiver and return specialist, was cut by the Eagles following training camp.

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Line of Scrimmage: Pats, Pack, Our Picks for Arizona
January 2nd, 2008

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The six playoff entries from the National Football Conference might be participating in a kind of loser's bracket, but at least they'll allow us some sort of debate over the next three weeks.

Frankly, the AFC affords observers no such luxury.

Barring a compound fracture of one of Tom Brady's limbs, there's only one team that has a fraction of a chance to go into New England and win, and that's Indianapolis. And, allow me to repeat, that's a fraction of a chance.

On the NFC side, there's not a single team for which it's impossible to make a case that a trip to Glendale, AZ for Super Bowl XLII is imminent.

The Cowboys and Packers are 13-win teams. The Seahawks and Buccaneers both have talent and have scored plenty of fine victories. The Giants just took New England down to the wire, and the Redskins are a scorching-hot No. 6 seed with a veteran coach at the controls, kind of like the Steelers were when they raised the Lombardi Trophy two years ago.

It's a tough multiple choice, but we're spinning the roulette wheel and landing on green.

The Green Bay Packers will be the NFC team facing the Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium.

What do we like about the Packers? Many of the same things we like about the Patriots.

A quarterback who's been there before. Backs and receivers that pose a "pick your poison" kind of threat. Strong pass rush. Playmaking secondary. Coaching staff that gets it.

A vote for Green Bay is, of course, an indictment of top-seeded Dallas. The Cowboys are as talented and dangerous as anyone in the NFC, but they have not looked like the same team that started 11-1 over the past month, and we're wary of both the injury problems and budding off-the-field drama involving Tony Romo and Terrell Owens.

Wild Card Round:

Seattle over Washington


Joe Gibbs might not win any Coach of the Year awards, though it can be argued that the job he did during the second half of the regular season rivaled that of any of his Super Bowl-winning years. The Redskins could have quit when Sean Taylor died, and didn't. They could have packed it in when Jason Campbell got hurt, and didn't. That said, Washington has pretty much reached its ceiling. The Seahawks are too tough at home, Matt Hasselbeck is playing as well as he ever has, and that defense doesn't get nearly enough credit for its playmaking ability.

Jacksonville over Pittsburgh

When the Steelers were rolling along at 7-2, it would have seemed laughable to suggest that any team other than the Black and Gold could win at Heinz Field twice in a four-week span. But Pittsburgh faded in a major way during the second half, thanks in large part to major injuries like those suffered by Willie Parker and underrated defensive end Aaron Smith. The Jaguars are extremely talented and have to smell blood in the water at this point. They'll win, but not before a fight by a proud group.

Tampa Bay over N.Y. Giants

It's amazing how many Northeast corridor-types are giving the Buccaneers no shot in this game, with the Giants' strong performance against New England and Tampa Bay's mediocre final month helping to fuel that sentiment. But playing the Patriots tough has not carried over to the next week for anyone that has performed the feat (see Ravens vs. Colts, Eagles vs. Seahawks), and the Buccaneers' 1-3 final quarter had a lot to do with the fact that the team had pretty much sewed up the NFC South and was prepping for the playoffs. With a fresh Jeff Garcia at the controls and a high-quality defense tormenting Eli Manning, the Bucs will advance.

San Diego over Tennessee

The Titans more or less had the Chargers beat the last time these two played, blowing a 17-3 fourth-quarter lead to lose in overtime. That result could lead you to believe that Tennessee has a chance here, but remember that San Diego was on its second leg of a tough two-game road trip when it traveled to Nashville on Dec. 9th and the Titans haven't looked great since choking in that contest. The only team that has played the Chargers within single digits at Qualcomm Stadium since September is the Colts, and the Titans are not the Colts.

Divisional Playoff Round:

Green Bay over Seattle


"We want the ball, and we're going to win," said ex-Packer Matt Hasselbeck just before throwing a fateful and fatal overtime interception that went the other way for an Al Harris touchdown in a 2003 NFC Divisional Playoff at Green Bay. Hasselbeck will have a chance to exorcise that demon, but we don't figure that a team that has relied more and more on passing the football to survive is going to be able to ride that approach to a victory at Lambeau Field in the second week of January.

New England over Jacksonville

It was two calendar years ago when the Jaguars traveled to New England as a 12-4 football team and got thumped, 28-3, by a Patriots club that would lose in Denver the following week. Jacksonville is more dangerous now than it was then, what with Maurice Jones-Drew doing half of the running and David Garrard posing a much greater threat at the quarterback position than did Byron Leftwich. Still, the Jags are not in the Patriots' class, and a week after playing a physical Pittsburgh team, aren't going to stand up to a rested New England unit for 60 minutes.

Tampa Bay over Dallas

What am I, crazy? The Buccaneers are not a popular pick to win one playoff game, and I have them beating the top seed in the NFC and getting all the way to the Championship round? Well frankly, I just don't like what I've seen from the Cowboys since they beat Green Bay - barely getting by the Lions and Panthers while playing poorly in losses to the Eagles and Redskins. Tampa Bay has a good defense that can force Tony Romo into some mistakes, and will hang around just long enough to spring the upset.

Indianapolis over San Diego

Here's where the Norv Turner factor catches up to the Chargers, as the less- than-fiery coach figures to get outclassed by the cerebral Tony Dungy. San Diego has won a lot of games this year based on its defensive pressure and ability to cause turnovers, but you can pretty much forget Peyton Manning having another six-INT meltdown against the Bolts this time. On the other side, the Colts know how to stop the run, which leaves San Diego's fate in the hands of Philip Rivers. Enough said?

Championship Round:

Green Bay over Tampa Bay


The Buccaneers seemed to be purposely avoiding a Divisional Round trip to Lambeau Field, which is why you've never seen a team so pleased to concede the No. 3 seed to, in this case, the Seahawks. On a neutral field, Tampa Bay has a good shot to win this game, but this isn't a neutral field, it's one of the coldest places in the free world in the dead of winter. Time to trot out that statistic about the Buccaneers' record when the temperature is below 40 degrees, and time for the Bucs' run to end.

New England over Indianapolis

Here's the rematch everyone wants to see, a game that is supposed to more or less determine the Super Bowl champion. The Colts had every opportunity to beat the Patriots when these two played on Nov. 4th , but that game was played before a partisan Indy crowd within the climate-controlled RCA Dome. Indy won't be nearly as comfortable while playing the Pats at Gillette Stadium, and New England isn't about to let its perfect destiny hit a roadblock on the home turf.

Let's take a look at the week that will be in the National Football League:

THE GAMES

I was 12-4 in my picks last week, and 8-6-2 against the spread. The regular season-ending straight-up mark was 166-90 (.648), and dropped to 115-128-13 (.475) with Vegas involved. My little girl, who turns one this Monday, ended the regular campaign at 130-113-13 (.533), two games better than any of The Sports Network's "Pigskin Prognosticators."

Washington (9-7) at Seattle (10-6), Saturday, 4:30 (Seattle -3)

Storylines: Teams face off for the first time since Seattle's 20-10 home win over Washington in a 2005 NFC Divisional Playoff...Redskins won final four games to make playoffs following 5-7 start...Washington quarterback Todd Collins, who is 3-0 since entering the starting lineup, expected to make first playoff start in place of the injured Jason Campbell (knee)...Campbell listed as questionable for Sunday...Seattle wide receiver Deion Branch (calf) and left tackle Walter Jones (shoulder) both questionable...Seahawks were 7-1 at Qwest Field during the regular season, and their seven wins came by an average of 16.7 points...Redskins have won two in a row away from D.C., defeating the Giants and Vikings on the road in December... Seahawks played only two games against 2007 playoff teams during the regular season, beating the Buccaneers in Week 1 and losing to the Steelers in Week 5...Washington cornerback Shawn Springs was a first-round draft pick of Seattle in 1997 and played seven seasons with the Seahawks.

Fast Fact: Before the Redskins did so, the last team to reach the playoffs after starting 5-7 was the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game before losing.

Prediction: Redskins will be game, but Seahawks are too tough on their home field. Seahawks 24, Redskins 17.

Jacksonville (11-5) at Pittsburgh (10-6), Saturday, 8:00 (Jacksonville -2)

Storylines: Steelers vying for first playoff win since beating the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, while Jaguars are looking for their first postseason victory since 1999...Rematch of a Week 15 matchup at Heinz Field, won by the Jaguars, 29-22...Jacksonville is the only visiting team to win at Pittsburgh this season...Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin takes the sideline for his first career playoff game...Pittsburgh is without leading rusher Willie Parker (leg), and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, ankle) is probable after missing last week's 27-21 loss to Baltimore ...Jaguars end Paul Spicer (ankle) and middle linebacker Mike Peterson (hand) both regarded as questionable... Pittsburgh left tackle Marvel Smith (back) is out, and would-be replacement Max Starks (knee) was placed on season-ending injured reserve earlier this week...Jaguars running back Fred Taylor rushed for 100 yards in five straight games before sitting out regular season finale against Houston...Jacksonville wideout Reggie Williams has a touchdown catch in four consecutive games.

Fast Fact: No visiting NFL team has ever won in Pittsburgh twice in one season.

Prediction: Steelers are simply too banged up to beat a quality team at this point. Jaguars 20, Steelers 16.

N.Y. Giants (10-6) at Tampa Bay (9-7), Sunday, 1:00 (Tampa Bay -3)

Storylines: Buccaneers lost three of their final four regular season games, while Giants were 3-4 in their last seven...Tampa Bay seeking first playoff victory since winning Super Bowl XXXVII, while Giants last won a postseason game in 2000, when they reached Super Bowl XXXV... Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia has been the starting signal-caller in two of New York's last three playoff losses, one while with the 49ers and the other the Eagles...Garcia threw a total of 49 passes over Tampa Bay's final six games, missing the entirety of three contests due to a back injury and for precautionary reasons...Garcia will become the only QB in the Super Bowl era to start against the same playoff opponent with three different teams...New York is making its third consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Tom Coughlin, the first time since 1984-86 the team has gone to the postseason in three straight years...Top Buccaneers pass-catcher Ike Hilliard is a former first-round pick of the Giants and spent eight seasons in New York (1997-2004).

Fast Fact: The last time the Giants appeared in Tampa for a playoff game was on Jan. 28, 2001, when they lost to the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.

Prediction: Buccaneers aren't getting much respect, but their defense is the real deal. Buccaneers 21, Giants 13.

Tennessee (10-6) at San Diego (11-5), Sunday, 4:30 (San Diego -9)

Storylines: Rematch of Week 14 game in Nashville, in which San Diego rebounded from a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit to win, 23-17, in overtime...Tennessee quarterback Vince Young (quadriceps) regarded as questionable after leaving last Sunday's win over Indianapolis, and veteran Kerry Collins would start in his place...Collins' last playoff appearance was with the Giants in 2002... Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (hamstring) and center Kevin Mawae (calf) also questionable...San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman (knee) returned to the lineup last week after a two-game absence that followed an injury on a questionable hit by the Titans...Chargers in search of their first playoff win since 1994, when they reached Super Bowl XXIX...San Diego won its final six regular season games, and is 6-0 at home since losing to Kansas City there in September...Chargers will play first playoff game under head coach Norv Turner, who is 1-1 in his career in the postseason...Titans are in postseason for the first time since 2003, when they reached the AFC Divisional Round...Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson is NFL's first back-to-back rushing champion since Edgerrin James in 1999-2000.

Fast Fact: The last quarterback to win a playoff for the Chargers was Stan Humphries, who engineered a 17-13 win over the Steelers in the 1994 AFC Championship.

Prediction: No matter who plays QB for the Titans, Tennessee is not in San Diego's class. Chargers 31, Titans 10.

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Harrison practices, may play in Colts' playoff game
ASSOCIATED PRESS

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marvin Harrison returned to practice Wednesday and could play in the Indianapolis Colts' playoff game next week.

Harrison has missed a career-high 11 games since bruising his left knee against Denver on Sept. 30. He practiced twice last week, but was held out of the regular-season finale against Tennessee.

Indy (13-3) will play San Diego, Pittsburgh or Jacksonville on Jan. 13.

''Right now, we don't have anybody who has been ruled out,'' Dungy said Wednesday. ''Marvin practiced today and he did well. He's not been ruled out. I guess he'll be day to day for the next seven days.''

Four other Colts starters - safety Antoine Bethea, defensive tackle Raheem Brock, right tackle Ryan Diem and defensive end Robert Mathis - all sat out with injuries last Sunday, too.

But Dungy did not give updates on their conditions and the team did not issue an updated injury report.

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Three Giants hurt vs. Patriots don't practice
ASSOCIATED PRESS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Three Giants starters injured in the season finale last weekend against New England did not practice Wednesday. Buccaneers. 

Coach Tom Coughlin said center Shaun O'Hara, linebacker Kawika Mitchell and cornerback Sam Madison are making progress, but he would not guess whether they will play Sunday.

O'Hara and Mitchell have sprained knees. Madison aggravated an abdominal strain.

Mitchell and O'Hara have been fitted with knee braces.

''The medical people are not going to make a decision which puts the player in jeopardy,'' Coughlin said. ''So if the player is capable of doing the things that he has to do by his position in order to perform well, he passes the test with the medical people, and then they will make it on that. If he is not ready, then obviously they won't allow him to play.''

Grey Ruegamer would play center if O'Hara can't play.

''Part of my job is to make it as seamless as possible, so you don't notice the difference,'' Ruegamer said.

Receiver Plaxico Burress (ankle) and cornerback Kevin Dockery (hip flexor) practiced on a limited basis. Rookie halfback Ahmad Bradshaw, who missed the Patriots games with a calf injury, returned to practice, as did receiver Sinorice Moss, who was out the last two weeks with a back injury.

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Titans' Scaife placed on IR with lacerated liver
January 2, 2008

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Titans quarterback Vince Young practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but lost one of his favorite targets when tight end Bo Scaife was placed on injured reserve with a lacerated liver.

Scaife won't be available for the playoffs. Tennessee plays at San Diego in the first round Sunday, and Young hopes to start despite a sore right quadriceps.

The team's third-leading receiver with a career-high 46 catches for 421 yards, Scaife was hurt during Tennessee's 16-10 win over Indianapolis on Sunday night. He was trying to catch a high pass from Young when he was hit by Colts safety Matt Giordano in the second quarter.

The ball bounced off Giordano's head, and Titans receiver Justin Gage caught it just before it hit the ground for a 21-yard completion.

The tight end finished the game and returned with the Titans to Nashville. But coach Jeff Fisher said Scaife had a tough night, underwent some tests and was hospitalized on Monday. Scaife was released Wednesday morning but was placed on injured reserve and will need up to six weeks of rest to heal.

"Bo's been a big-play guy for us in his own way," Fisher said. "He's kind of a leader on offense. He's out there every day, gets up after most big hits. This one, he did. He came back and played. It's a difficult situation for Bo. We've got people on the roster that are going to have to step up."

Young said he apologized to Scaife, his college teammate at Texas, for putting him in a position to be injured.

"It hurts a lot because I was one of the guys that got him hurt. That's my brother, friend, everything, all of the above," Young said.

The Titans still have two four-year veterans at tight end in Ben Troupe and Ben Hartsock, who have combined for 17 catches this season. The team also promoted tight end Jamie Petrowski from the practice squad to the active roster and added tight end Leonard Stephens to the practice squad.

Young left the game against Indianapolis with an ailing right quadriceps, an injury that kept him out of an Oct. 21 win at Houston.

Center Kevin Mawae, who has missed the past two games with an injured left calf, sat out practice with right guard Benji Olson, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and defensive end Antwan Odom.

Running back Chris Brown (back) did not practice, and LenDale White (knee) was excused for personal reasons.

Wide receiver Roydell Williams, tied for the team lead in catches with 55, hurt his right ankle during practice and had to leave the field. Fisher said he did not know the extent of the injury.

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mvbski wrote:


Titans' Scaife placed on IR with lacerated liver
January 2, 2008

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Titans quarterback Vince Young practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but lost one of his favorite targets when tight end Bo Scaife was placed on injured reserve with a lacerated liver.

Scaife won't be available for the playoffs. Tennessee plays at San Diego in the first round Sunday, and Young hopes to start despite a sore right quadriceps.

The team's third-leading receiver with a career-high 46 catches for 421 yards, Scaife was hurt during Tennessee's 16-10 win over Indianapolis on Sunday night. He was trying to catch a high pass from Young when he was hit by Colts safety Matt Giordano in the second quarter.

Titans lose top receiver to broken ankle in practice
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans will be without top receiver Roydell Williams for the first round of the playoffs after he broke his right ankle in practice Wednesday.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Thursday that Williams was having surgery to repair the bone at the base of the tibia, which will require a plate and screws. Williams was hurt during practice Wednesday, but was able to walk off the indoor practice field by himself.

Fisher said X-rays showed the severity of the injury late Wednesday night.

The Titans have already lost top tight end Bo Scaife after he suffered a lacerated liver in last week's win at Indianapolis.

Williams was tied with Justin Gage for the team lead in receptions with a career-high 55. He was second with 719 yards for a team-high four touchdowns.

Receiver Brandon Jones has been on injured reserve with a groin injury since Dec. 15.

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