Originally posted on NBC Bay Area  |  Last updated 12/16/11
The 49ers can make a very loud statement Monday night with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite last week’s loss to the Cardinals, despite an offense that seems to have stalled in recent weeks and despite all those who still don’t believe in Jim Harbaugh’s team, a victory over the Steelers on national TV will give the Niners a huge shot of confidence and momentum. Oddsmakers have made the NFC West champions one-point favorites. However, many believe the Niners have hit a plateau. Both teams are 10-3, but the Steelers are 10-3 in the rough AFC North and have a physical, blitzing defense – the same defense Arizona used last week to sack Alex Smith five times in the Cardinals’ 21-19 victory. On Monday, both teams will be without key players. The Steelers will be without linebackers James Harrison (suspended) and LaMarr Woodley, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, hampered by an ankle injury, is expected to play. The Niners will be missing standout linebacker Patrick Willis, and ...
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