Roethlisberger appears ready for Ravens

Roethlisberger appears ready for Ravens 

Pittsburgh’s attack simply hasn’t looked the same since Ben Roethlisberger went down on Oct. 16. But the quarterback’s likely return this afternoon ranks atop our latest injury-related nuggets.

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Given the sheer ferocity that accompanies Steelers-Ravens tilts, Roethlisberger had better be able to roll with that left knee. The perennial Pro Bowler was expected to miss at least a month following meniscus surgery. A crucial divisional matchup, however, seems to have accelerated the initial timetable. No. 7 should also benefit from the presence of vertical threat Markus Wheaton, who’s gearing up for his first action in four weeks.

There are currently no signal-caller concerns in Dallas, because Dak Prescott continues to confound coordinators around the league. But the team’s usual pilot, Tony Romo (back), does remain sidelined for today’s trip to Cleveland. Of greater interest to the people in Big D: Dez Bryant’s status. The frequently dinged-up wideout could suffer a dip in production due to knee and back issues. Then again, he boasts only two touchdowns on the season.

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Moving from the outside to the backfield, Kansas City must turn to a third-stringer against the Jaguars. With primary ball carriers Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware unavailable, Charcandrick West will assume the bulk of responsibilities. They’ll come in abundance, too, considering QB Alex Smith’s concussion-related absence. West owns 773 yards on 193 carries in two-plus years.

Elsewhere on the ground, Carlos Hyde’s far from a certainty to suit up vs. the Saints. San Francisco’s top offensive weapon, trying to surmount a sprained AC joint, sported a non-contact jersey in recent practices. If he’s capable of toting the rock, Hyde may devour a New Orleans defense that surrenders 110.7 rushing yards per game.

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Meanwhile, the backbone of Carolina’s D hopes to square off with the Rams. Ron Rivera held middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (groin) out of the majority of drills during the week. Nonetheless, look for the second-level stalwart to help keep Todd Gurley & Co. in check.

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