NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Players to Watch in Week 12

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5 Players to Watch in Week 12

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the 4-6 records of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns won’t catch the eye of many football fans, the fact that these two divisional rivals will face off this Sunday should. The Steelers and the Browns are in a three-way tie in the AFC North along with the Baltimore Ravens.

If the Ravens fall to the New York Jets this week, the winner between Pittsburgh and Cleveland will have sole possession of second place in the AFC North, and will be two games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals, who are idle for this Week 12.

For the Steelers, their secondary should have all the confidence in the world after their performance against the best wide receiver in the NFL. Despite getting lit up in the second quarter in last week’s victory over the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh’s pass defense shutout All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson for the entire second half.

After that display of dominance, the Steelers should welcome the Browns’ 18th ranked pass offense and shaky quarterback situation with open arms when these two teams clash in Cleveland.

In addition, Steelers' fans should direct their attention to Pittsburgh’s run defense against Cleveland’s 26th ranked running game. Overall, the Steelers have had problems stopping the run, but in their last two games they have held opposing running backs under 100 yards.

As far as individual players, there are some who could step in for injured starters and some starters who might play even though they aren’t at 100 percent. Let me show you who I think are the five players that will have a big impact on this week’s game.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Ziggy Hood

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Starting defensive end Brett Keisel is listed as questionable for this week’s game. Even if Keisel does play, he should be relieved by fellow defensive end Ziggy Hood, who should get a lot of snaps regardless of the situation.

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4. Ramon Foster

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Listed as probable, left guard Ramon Foster could be the missing piece to get the Steelers’ 26th ranked ground attack off and running against Cleveland’s stout defense.

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3. Le'Veon Bell

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Though rookie running back Le’Veon Bell may have difficulty gaining yards on the ground against the Browns’ eighth-ranked run defense, his contribution as a receiver out of the backfield in the passing game should play a major part in Pittsburgh’s offense.

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2. Ben Roethlisberger

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Going against the Browns’ stingy run defense, the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be highly depended upon against Cleveland’s fourth-ranked pass defense.

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1. Jason Worilds

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The injury to linebacker LaMarr Woodley could possibly keep him sidelined for another week, which leaves another opportunity for Jason Worilds to get in the starting lineup. Worilds has three sacks in the last three games, and might start even if Woodley plays.