Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley predicts the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals will "lay down" for their virtually meaningless games Sunday because they don't want the Super Bowl champion Steelers to make the playoffs.
The Steelers (8-7) would reach the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons if they beat Miami, the Patriots defeat Houston, and the Bengals beat the New York Jets. There are other combinations that would get them in, but all include either a New England or Cincinnati victory.
Pittsburgh's problem: The Patriots (10-5) and Bengals (10-5) have little at stake other than which team will be seeded No. 3 in the AFC. With a wild-card playoff game awaiting both teams next week, New England and Cincinnati are expected to rest some starters to avoid possible injuries.
"All of them lay down," Woodley said yesterday. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."
Jets. New York will pay tribute to its 26 years at Giants Stadium with a halftime celebration during the final regular-season game to be played there Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Jets, who moved to the Meadowlands from Shea Stadium in 1984, will have at least one player from every season at Giants Stadium represented at the ceremony, including Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Wesley Walker, Marty Lyons, Al Toon, Wayne Chrebet, and Vinny Testaverde.
A highlights video will be played at halftime of a game the Jets (8-7) need to win to make the playoffs.
The Jets and Giants will begin playing home games at the New Meadowlands Stadium next season, located northeast of the current stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Saints. New Orleans defensive end Bobby McCray has issued a written apology concerning comments he made on a social networking Web site about the officer who arrested him after a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.
McCray was booked with driving while intoxicated and other charges.
49ers. San Francisco coach Mike Singletary said the wide-receiver mates of 37-year-old Isaac Bruce approached the coach to say they wanted the 16th-year veteran to play Sunday at St. Louis in the team's last game.
Josh Morgan, who replaced Bruce in the starting lineup, went to Singletary's office Monday and made the case that Bruce, who probably will retire after the season, deserved this chance.
"You know what? I was kind of surprised, but if it had been me, I don't know, I don't think I would have done it," Bruce said. "I'm a football player, and I believe in players earning the right to play."
Colts. Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay believes his team did the right thing by pulling its starters in Sunday's loss to the Jets, which cost the Colts a spot at an undefeated season. In a conference call with three local reporters, Irsay called the decision "courageous" and "best for the team."