Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Now it's time to get the blog up and running again. Remember the weekly chat begins today at 2 p.m. Also, the blog will have a post on the announcement of the Pro Bowl teams tonight. As I pick up the torn wrapping paper and squished bows, here's your wake-up call:
RAVENS: Wide receiver Anquan Boldin has a shoulder bruise, making it uncertain whether he'll play in the final regular-season game. Boldin, the team's leading receiver with 65 catches and 921 yards, hurt his shoulder in the third quarter last Sunday and is expected to be limited in practice. Meanwhile, a league source told ESPN.com that safety Ed Reed is not likely to be suspended for his hit on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.
BENGALS: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, the team's first-round pick, ended an injury-filled year on the injured reserve. He missed two games this month with a concussion, but the team told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he was out last Sunday with a knee strain. Kirkpatrick played in just five games and didn't make one start. He had four tackles on defense and two on special teams. The Bengals used that roster spot to claim second-year receiver Dane Sanzenbacher off waivers from the Bears.
STEELERS: A big reason Pittsburgh isn't going to the playoffs is how the Steelers fared in close games. In games that were decided by three points or fewer, the Steelers were 3-5. And in games that were decided by a touchdown or less, they were 5-7. "It says you don't finish, honestly," safety Ryan Clark told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If you look at our years when we went 12-4 and went to Super Bowls, we didn't blow people out," Clark said. "But, in these types of games, we find ways to make plays in the fourth quarter. That was the story all year. We find a way, defensively, offensively, or on special teams not to make a play."
BROWNS: Coach Pat Shurmur hasn't ruled out quarterback Brandon Weeden (sprained right shoulder) or running back Trent Richardson (left ankle) for Sunday's finale at Pittsburgh. “We’re still evaluating those injuries,” Shurmur said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “In the case of Trent, X-rays didn’t show a break, but we haven’t finished up the evaluation. He was actually feeling better today. So we’ll see how that goes. Brandon ... at this point it’s a sprain, so we’ll see where that goes. Either one of ’em, no, I wouldn’t rule them out yet.”