Not having Ward might help Steelers

The Steelers announced that wide receiver Hines Ward and inside linebacker James Farrior are out today against New England. Both had been listed as questionable.

But not having Ward could be a positive for Pittsburgh. This allows the Steelers to play younger and faster receivers like Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown against a Patriots defense that has allowed the most big plays in the NFL this season.

Ward is a possession receiver who is averaging 9.9 yards per catch. Sanders, who is expected to start in place of Ward, and Brown are both averaging more than 13 yards per reception.

When Ward left last Sunday's game, Brown finished with a 100-yard receiving game and Sanders scored a critical second-half touchdown.