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Steelers sit Big Ben, Bell, Brown for meaningless finale

January 1, 2017

The playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers did as coach Mike Tomlin promised, sitting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, receiver Antonio Brown and center Maurkice Pouncey for a meaningless regular-season finale against Cleveland.

With the AFC North champions locked into the third seed in the conference playoffs, the Steelers also gave tight end Ladarius Green (concussion) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee) the day off Sunday in hopes they’ll be ready when the postseason begins next weekend.

The AFC South champion Houston Texans already had declared defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, running back Lamar Miller and linebacker John Simon out. They also made linebacker Brian Cushing and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who both had been listed as questionable, inactive. Cushing has an ankle injury that limited him in practice, while Joseph has been dealing with ribs, shoulder and an illness.

Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor is inactive for the Bills, who are starting EJ Manuel against the New York Jets. Taylor is dealing with a groin issue, so he was not expected to play. Rookie Cardale Jones will serve as Manuel’s backup.

For the Jets, wide receiver Brandon Marshall is inactive after being questionable with hip and shoulder ailments. It could be his last game with the Jets, who could save $7.5 million on the salary cap in an offseason that is expected to include a roster overhaul.

Jets rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg is active for the first time for a regular-season game and will serve as the backup to starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Indianapolis Colts will be without cornerback Darius Butler (concussion), who had already been ruled out, and receiver Donte Moncrief (shoulder), who was listed as doubtful.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are without running back Chris Ivory, leaving Denard Robinson to start after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. T.J. Yeldon was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, leaving the Jaguars without much depth behind Robinson.

The Chicago Bears, as expected, held two of their top edge rushers, outside linebackers Leonard Floyd (concussion) and Pernell McPhee (shoulder), out of the finale against Minnesota with injuries. McPhee had four sacks in only nine games this season, and the rookie Floyd had seven sacks in just 12 games.

For the Vikings, the absence of left guard Alex Boone (back) meant the eighth different starting lineup combination on the offensive line this year. Joe Berger, who has started at center and right guard, took Boone’s place for the finale.

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BALTIMORE at CINCINNATI

Ravens: WR Keenan Reynolds, WR Vince Mayle, RB Javorius Allen, LB Lamar Louis, G Ryan Jensen, T Rick Wagner and TE Crockett Gillmore

Bengals: QB Jeff Driskel, RB Jeremy Hill, LB Vontaze Burfict , G Christian Westerman, DT DeShawn Williams, TE Tyler Kroft and WR Jake Kumerow

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CLEVELAND at PITTSBURGH

Browns: QB Kevin Hogan, QB Josh McCown, DB Trey Caldwell, RB Darius Jackson, LB Cam Johnson, OL Gabe Ikard and DL Stephen Paea

Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown, S Robert Golden, C Maurkice Pouncey, TE Ladarius Green and DE Stephon Tuitt

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DALLAS at PHILADELPHIA

Cowboys: LT Tyron Smith, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Tyrone Crawford, LB Justin Durant, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, DT Cedric Thornton and DT Terrell McClain

Eagles: WR Jordan Matthews, LB Mychal Kendricks, DT Taylor Hart, OL Allen Barbre, OL Dillon Gordon, CB Dwayne Gratz and OL Josh Andrews

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NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI

Patriots: T LaAdrian Waddle, RB D.J. Foster, WR Danny Amendola, CB Cyrus Jones, WR Malcolm Mitchell, S Jordan Richards and QB Jacoby Brissett

Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Jelani Jenkins, TE Thomas Duarte, TE Dominique Jones, WR Leonte Carroo and DE Mario Williams

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CHICAGO at MINNESOTA

Bears: RB Ka’Deem Carey, S Deon Bush, CB Bryce Callahan, FB Paul Lasike, WR Daniel Braverman, LB Pernell McPhee and LB Leonard Floyd

Vikings: QB Taylor Heinicke, WR Laquon Treadwell, WR Stefon Diggs, RB Adrian Peterson, RB C.J. Ham, G Willie Beavers and G Alex Boone

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BUFFALO at NEW YORK JETS

Bills: QB Tyrod Taylor, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT Adolphus Washington, WR Dez Lewis, TE Logan Thomas, OT Cordy Glenn and TE Gerald Christian

Jets: WR Brandon Marshall, DL Steve McLendon, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, LB Lorenzo Mauldin, CB Nick Marshall, LB Randell Johnson and OL Donald Hawkins

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CAROLINA at TAMPA BAY

Panthers: QB Derek Anderson, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, LB Jeremy Cash, LB Luke Kuechly, OT Dan France, DT Paul Soliai and DE Charles Johnson

Buccaneers: QB Ryan Griffin, WR Bernard Reedy, T Leonard Wester, DT John Hughes III, DL Channing Ward, OL Caleb Benenoch and DE William Gholston

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HOUSTON at TENNESSEE

Texans: QB Brandon Weeden, CB Johnathan Joseph, RB Lamar Miller, FB Jay Prosch, OLB John Simon, ILB Brian Cushing and DE Jadeveon Clowney

Titans: WR Kendall Wright, CB Jason McCourty, DB Curtis Riley, OLB David Bass, OG Sebastian Tretola, TE Jace AMaro and DE Angelo Blackson

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JACKSONVILLE at INDIANAPOLIS

Jaguars: QB Brandon Allen, RB Chris Ivory, RB Daryl Richardson, DT Jordan Hill, TE Neal Sterling, WR Allen Hurns and DL Chris Smith

Colts: WR Donte Moncrief, CB Darius Butler, CB Rashaan Melvin, LB Deiontrez Mount, OL Austin Blythe, DE Kristjan Sokoli and OL Jeremy Vujnovich

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