Will He or Won't He?
By Mike Batista
It will be a game-time decision whether or not Troy Polamalu plays today.
If his Achilles injury is lagging at all, Polamalu should wear a hoodie and headphones today instead of a helmet and pads.
Yes, the Steelers have a lot at stake today. If they win, they're the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and get a first-round bye. If they lose, they're probably the No. 6 seed and face a much tougher road to the Super Bowl.
That said, if the Steelers can't beat the crappy Browns, with or without Polamalu, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs.
Oh, the Browns are dangerous. They had only one win last year, and they beat the Steelers in Cleveland.
Listen, the Steelers' loss in Cleveland last season came four days after their loss at home to the Raiders. They were still shell-shocked. The Steelers enter Cleveland this year in a much better frame of mind.
Polamalu's play before his injury might make this hard to remember, but the Steelers have won games without Polamalu being a major factor. He didn't do a hell of a lot when the Steelers beat the Browns in Pittsburgh 28-10 on Oct. 17.
Polamalu last played Dec. 12 against Cincinnati. If he sits today and the Steelers win, he'll have five weeks of rest before the divisional round of the playoffs. The Steelers will get a fresh Polamalu, like the one who blazed all over the field for a quarter and a half in the 2009 season opener. Like the one who had an interception in each of the first two games this season as well as a sideline-hurdling tackle at the 1-yard line late in a Week 2 win over the Titans.
That's the Polamalu the Steelers will need in the playoffs.
Ryan Mundy, get your helmet.