Today's game

January 14, 1996

Colts (11-7) at Steelers (12-5)

Site: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh

Time: 12:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 11, 4/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Steelers by 11

Injuries: Colts -- RB Marshall Faulk (knee) is out; WR Wendell Davis (hamstring) and DT Freddie Joe Nunn (hamstring) are questionable; G Randy Dixon (elbow), DT Ellis Johnson (wrist), DE Tony McCoy (foot) and DT Tony Siragusa (virus) are probable. Steelers -- CB Rod Woodson (knee) is out; WR Andre Hastings (quadriceps), T John Jackson (knee) and WR Ernie Mills (knee) are probable.

Outlook: The Steelers got careless last season in the AFC title game against underdog San Diego. But they say they're ready this time against another underdog. Success means a date with the NFC champion in Tempe, Ariz., in two weeks. Failure means another year of self-examination and heightened doubt. But this is a different Steelers team. With QB Neil O'Donnell having a fine season and receivers Yancey Thigpen, Ernie Mills, Andre Hastings and newcomer Kordell Stewart unleashed, Pittsburgh

suddenly is an air force. The Colts, too, have created a unified team, but it has taken a little bit longer. QB Jim Harbaugh began the season as a backup, getting elevated only after Craig Erickson struggled and Harbaugh was sensational in relief. P-K Mike Cofer was cut, with Cary Blanchard coming in. Blanchard kicked a game-winner against Miami in his first appearance, then made all four tries in an upset of San Francisco. The offensive line also was shuffled. But the biggest adjustment came in the backfield when Faulk went down with a knee injury that will keep him out on today. First, Lamont Warren ran for 90 yards and caught six passes for 67 more in a wild-card clincher over New England in the season finale. Then rookie Zack Crockett, with no yards gained on his NFL resume, rushed for 147 yards and two TDs against the Chargers. Warren followed that with 96 yards rushing at Kansas City.

Vito Stellino's pick: Steelers 31, Colts 14 -- Did you see Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene's wife pounding his shoulder pads before last week's game? She looked like she was ready to suit up.

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