Duo set for away day glory

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: December 17 2012, 0:13 GMT

David John previews Sunday's live NFL games on Sky and goes for road wins from Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger can rally the Steelers to victory
Roethlisberger can rally the Steelers to victory

Green Bay at Chicago (1800GMT)

NBC's excellent analyst Cris Collinsworth made a very salient point last Sunday night.

As the Packers got the better of Detroit, he felt that Green Bay could be about to hit top gear at the right end of the campaign.

They have had to cope with a variety of injury woes - just like most other NFL teams - but the potential return of DE Mike Neal, OL TJ Lang and the dominant LB Clay Matthews this weekend is a timely boost as we approach crunch time.

Safety Charles Woodson is not far way either and a win for Green Bay this weekend will clinch the NFC North which adds an extra edge to a game that has seen some of its participants exchange a word or two in the build-up.

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall has admitted a distinct dislike of the Packers, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley says the Bears are better without legendary linebacker Brian Urlacher, while Lance Briggs has responded by calling Finley an idiot.

So just another harmonious week in the NFC North and that is before we even bring Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler's 1-8 all-time record against Green Bay into the equation - he has thrown just eight touchdowns to 16 interceptions.

He remains dinged up and now has a sprained medial cruciate ligament in his knee but is expected to make it on to the field.

Clutch kicker Robbie Gould does miss out for certain with a calf problem and the bottom line is that there are two teams going in the opposite direction at present with the knives very much out in the Windy City for head coach Lovie Smith.

Bookmakers know exactly who the momentum is with and although there is not a great deal of scope in the price, the 4/6 with Paddy Power for a straight-up win for the visitors gets the vote.

Pittsburgh at Dallas (2125GMT)

The Steelers have endured a turbulent week but they look worth backing at 5/6 on the road in Texas after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's rallying cry.

Injuries, a lack of production on both sides of the ball and a scruffy loss last week at home to the Chargers has led to tempers getting frayed and a general feeling of disharmony - a very un-Steeler like situation.

Roethlisberger may not have always kept on the straight and narrow but his team-mates worship him and a few sharp words have put things in perspective in terms of the rest of the season for the team.

"You are going to see a very different mindset this week," he explained to members of the press with his team in all likelihood needing to win out to make the post-season.

Veteran safety Ryan Clark has also weighed in.

"We don't panic around here," was his view and I think we are going to see them draw on all that championship-winning nous to give them the best chance of achieving their goal.

Roethlisberger feels he will be much sharper this week as he plays his second game since returning from a horrible upper body injury although he did still manage to throw for 285 yards and three touchdowns against San Diego.

As for their opponents, they remain in a state of shock following the death of Jerry Brown in a car accident and head coach Jason Garrett admitted things have been very "challenging".

They managed to record a narrow win at Cincinnati last week but carrying that over will be extremely tough emotionally.

There are also big doubts about receiver Dez Bryant as he stuggles with a broken finger that is getting a second medical opinion. He may make the game - but is equally likely to be told he needs season-ending surgery.

Whichever way the dice fall, Bryant has been a massive factor in the Cowboys offense in a five-game run that has seen them go 4-1. With 33 catches and seven touchdowns, his potential absence is a devastating blow.

Dallas are in a similar boat to the Steelers with a 7-6 record currently but it is the latter who can get the outcome they desire.


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