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It helps that the Titans have run so well. They're sixth in the league in yards rushing behind the tandem of Chris Johnson, the only rookie to make the Pro Bowl, and LenDale White.
"They're both really good," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Each has a unique strength. Everybody wants to talk about how one guy runs outside and one guy runs inside, but when you watch the tape and you find they're both capable of really carrying the full load of their offense in kind of a similar way."
San Diego (9-8) at Pittsburgh (12-4)
Despite the eight losses, the Chargers are legitimate.
They were 4-8 and all but out of it when they started playing like the team that went to the AFC title game last season and was one of the preseason favorites in the conference.
Four straight wins combined with three straight losses by Denver at the end of the season gave them the AFC West title. And then they beat Indianapolis 23-17 in overtime, their fourth victory in their last five meetings with the Colts.
But they've always had trouble on the East Coast, including an 11-10 defeat in Pittsburgh in November, the only game with that score in the NFL's 89 seasons.
"It's a late game," coach Norv Turner said, a reference to the struggles of West Coast teams in 1 p.m. East Coast starts. "When I went back and looked at the first Pittsburgh game, we were on the East Coast and there were a lot of good things that we did in that game."
San Diego may not have LaDainian Tomlinson, who has a torn tendon in his groin, but it will have Darren Sproles, who had 328 all-purpose yards against the Colts.
The Steelers, on the other hand, will have Ben Roethlisberger, who was carried off with a concussion in the final regular-season game but has been practicing all week. The key may be how well he's protected by an offensive line that has been Pittsburgh's weak link all season.
It hasn't been a good season for Roethlisberger. A year after throwing 32 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, he has had just 17 TDs and 15 INTs. In that wacky win over San Diego, he threw for 308 yards, yet the offense got only three field goals.
"The big thing is we can drive up and down the field, but we have to be able to put the ball in when we get down there," he said.
Arizona (10-7) at Carolina (12-4)
The Cardinals are the only team that wasn't supposed to be here, 4-7 outside the weak NFC West and 0-5 in the Eastern time zone.
But they upset Atlanta last week because Kurt Warner made fewer mistakes and more big plays than Offensive Rookie of the Year Matt Ryan, and their defense was unusually stout.
The turning point was Darnell Dockett's disruption of a handoff early in the second half that popped the ball into the hands of Antrel Rolle, who returned it for a touchdown in a 30-24 win.
"Instead of having guys trying to individually make plays, we had a bunch of guys that were focused on playing team defense," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That's what we've talked about."
The Cardinals' offense will have to be at full throttle if Arizona hopes to beat Carolina. Warner, who threw for 381 yards in a 23-17 loss in Charlotte, has the best receiving trio in the NFL: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. Boldin, however, is nursing a hamstring he pulled on a 71-yard touchdown catch last week and will possibly have to play on a slippery field. There's a 40 percent chance of showers in Charlotte on Saturday.
Carolina took advantage of its bye week to heal up. Starting defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis should be back and so should rookie Jeff Otah, the starting right tackle on offense.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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