The Steelers will play their final game before their Week 12 bye without safety Troy Polamau - something Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said earlier in the week. CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora reported Saturday the team is hoping to get their starting strong safety back when they take on the New Orleans Saints in Week 13.
The Steelers are in Nashville on Sunday preparing for their game against the Titans. They sit at 6-4, and with middling-but-improving efforts on the defensive side of the ball, Polamalu could return in time for the team's final five games. A win on Monday would put them at 7-4 on the season, in good shape to contend for the AFC North title or a wild-card playoff spot.
Polamalu's presence isn't quite what it used to be in terms of coverage, but his run support has been outstanding. With second-year safety Shamarko Thomas also out for this game, the Steelers will lean on Will Allen again at strong safety. Allen is better in coverage than against the run, and facing a Titans team that will likely feature the run as the centerpiece of their game plan, Allen's production will be a critical component of this game.
Incidentally, the pass-happy Saints are on the docket for Polamalu's return.