DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Willis McGahee #23 of the Denver Broncos gets tackled by Troy Polamalu #43 the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The cycle of Steelers injuries spins into Week 2, as neither James Harrison nor Troy Polamalu (calf) practiced this week, largely suggesting neither will dress for the Steelers' home-opener against the Jets Sunday.
The Steelers will give Ryan Mundy his second consecutive start for Polamalu, and Ryan Clark - who missed the team's Week 1 game at Denver - will likely take Polamalu's strong safety position in the base package.
Chris Carter will get the start in place of Harrison, who is missing his second consecutive game as he continues to heal from knee surgery done on Aug. 15.
Arguably the Steelers' top two run defenders, their absences against a power running team like the Jets could be a problem. The Broncos were successful running without Harrison in the line up in Week 1, and Polamalu wasn't able to be as effective without Clark there to provide his usual high level of run support as he patrolled the line of scrimmage.
Without the fear of the freelancing Polamalu around the box to disrupt the offense's intentions, the Jets will likely implement even more of the run as a priority. They had a lot of success last week against Buffalo throwing the ball, and much of that was based off their continued insistence to run.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez had a big game, overcoming an early interception to throw for two touchdowns and 266 yards.