Patriots, Bengals will 'lay down,' Steelers' Woodley says

NFL Notes

Teammates doubt rivals will try to keep Pittsburgh out of playoffs

December 31, 2009|By From Sun news services

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley predicts the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals will "lay down" for their virtually meaningless games Sunday because they don't want the Super Bowl champion Steelers to make the playoffs.

The Steelers (8-7) would reach the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons if they beat Miami, the Patriots defeat Houston, and the Bengals beat the New York Jets. There are other combinations that would get them in, but all include either a New England or Cincinnati victory.

Pittsburgh's problem: The Patriots (10-5) and Bengals (10-5) have little at stake other than which team will be seeded No. 3 in the AFC. With a wild-card playoff game awaiting both teams next week, New England and Cincinnati are expected to rest some starters.

New England coach Bill Belichick hasn't revealed who will play. Woodley, last week's AFC Defensive Player of the Week and a Pro Bowl alternate, thinks he knows already.

"All of them lay down," Woodley said Wednesday. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."

LABOR CONTRACT:Miles Austin of the Cowboys, Brandon Marshall of the Broncos and six other Pro Bowl picks are among more than 200 NFL players who would lose their status as unrestricted free agents this offseason if the league and its union can't agree on a new labor contract. According to a list obtained by the Associated Press, 212 players would be considered restricted free agents - instead of unrestricted - if there is no salary cap in 2010.


Pro Bowl Rosters
AFC

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks - Tom Brady, New England; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Philip Rivers, San Diego

Running backs - Chris Johnson, Tennessee; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville; Ray Rice, Ravens

Wide receivers - Andre Johnson, Houston; Brandon Marshall, Denver; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; Wes Welker, New England

Tight ends - Dallas Clark, Indianapolis; Antonio Gates, San Diego

Fullback - Le'Ron McClain, Ravens

Centers - Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets; Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis

Guards - Kris Dielman, San Diego; Alan Faneca, N.Y. Jets; Logan Mankins, New England

Tackles - Ryan Clady, Denver; Jake Long, Miami; Joe Thomas, Cleveland

DEFENSE

Ends - Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; Mario Williams, Houston

Interior linemen - Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh; Haloti Ngata, Ravens; Vince Wilfork, New England

Inside-middle linebackers - Ray Lewis, Ravens; DeMeco Ryans, Houston

Outside linebackers - Brian Cushing, Houston; Elvis Dumervil, Denver; James Harrison, Pittsburgh

Cornerbacks - Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; Champ Bailey, Denver; Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets

Strong safety - Brian Dawkins, Denver

Free safeties - Jairus Byrd, Buffalo; Ed Reed, Ravens

Specialists

Punter - Shane Lechler, Oakland

Kick return specialist - Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland

Placekicker - Nate Kaeding, San Diego

Special teamer - Kassim Osgood, San Diego

NFC

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks - Drew Brees, New Orleans; Brett Favre, Minnesota; Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Running backs - Steven Jackson, St. Louis; Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; DeAngelo Williams, Carolina

Wide receivers - Miles Austin, Dallas; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia; Sidney Rice, Minnesota

Tight ends - Vernon Davis, San Francisco; Jason Witten, Dallas

Fullback - Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia

Centers - Andre Gurode, Dallas; Shaun O

Hara, New York Giants

Guards - Leonard Davis, Dallas; Jahri Evans, New Orleans; Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota

Tackles - Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota; Jason Peters, Philadelphia; Jon Stinchcomb, New Orleans

DEFENSE

Ends - Jared Allen, Minnesota; Trent Cole, Philadelphia; Julius Peppers, Carolina

Interior linemen - Darnell Dockett, Arizona; Jay Ratliff, Dallas; Kevin Williams, Minnesota

Inside-middle linebackers - Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans; Patrick Willis, San Francisco

Outside linebackers - Lance Briggs, Chicago; Brian Orakpo, Washington; DeMarcus Ware, Dallas

Cornerbacks - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona; Asante Samuel, Philadelphia; Charles Woodson, Green Bay

Strong safety - Adrian Wilson, Arizona

Free safeties - Nick Collins, Green Bay; Darren Sharper, New Orleans

Specialists

Punter - Andy Lee, San Francisco

Kick return specialist - DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia

Placekicker - David Akers, Philadelphia

Special teamer - Heath Farwell, Minnesota

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