The NFL Network gets what it wants: the hot Panthers against the slumping Steelers. Carolina has won one in a row and Pittsburgh has lost one in a row.
If the Panthers can run, the Panthers can compete. I want to see what Jimmy Clausen, who played well last week at home against lowly Arizona, does against this defense on the road.
I like Pittsburgh, the city. I like the way it looks, the way it reinvented itself. I like the way it comes together for a football game. I brought my older son here when he was young and he sat by himself, surrounded by Steeler fans. He wore Panther colors and cheered for Carolina. A big old Pittsburgh fan said, "Son, you might not want to do that here."
So my son adapted and the fans adapted and when I went to check on him at the end of the first-quarter it was as if he had 50 new babysitters.
Pittsburgh is real. You feel as if, when you check into the hotel, you ought to stop in the bar and order and beer and a shot.
Heinz Field will be loud, the evening will be brisk and there could be snow in the air. We'll have football weather. And I think, at least for a half, we'll get a football game.
Pittsburgh 24, Carolina 13