Although backup Byron Leftwich is definitely competent, he's not Roethlisberger. He's a stationary, strong-armed pocket passer who has no mobility. The Ravens' pass rush isn't much to fear, but Leftwich is relatively easy to track down. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in relief of Roethlisberger in a narrow escape of a win Monday night. However, he hasn't started a game since Sept. 27, 2009.
As tough and resilient as Roethlisberger is, the Steelers aren't going to risk his future -- immediate and long-term -- by having him play with a damaged shoulder against the Ravens even though this is a huge game with division title implications. The Ravens, who have lost Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis to injuries already this season, just caught a huge break if Roethlisberger is sidelined. Regardless of his status, though, expect a tight, well-played football game Sunday night that lives up to the usual standards of the rivalry.
Matt Vensel: The Steelers will probably string this out until Sunday night, but I think it's simple: If Ben Roethlisberger plays Sunday night at Heinz Field, the Steelers will win. If he doesn't, the Ravens will. More than ever, Pittsburgh's most valuable player is Roethlisberger, who is having arguably the best season of his career.
Edward Lee: Early speculation has Ben Roethlisberger missing two to four weeks with an injury ranging from a sprained right shoulder to a separated right shoulder. Either way, I think the Ravens will spend this week of preparation as if the Steelers' quarterback will play, and that's the rational thing to do. I anticipate the defense will spend some time studying Byron Leftwich, but every member of the defense will speak this week as if Roethlisberger will play Sunday night. And the Steelers need Roethlisberger to play because Leftwich doesn't exactly strike fear in opposing defenses.
Ron Fritz: When the game begins and Byron Leftwich is the starter for the Steelers on Sunday, that's when I'll believe that Ben Roethlisberger is too injured to play. I have to see it to believe it. Remember, the Steelers almost beat the Ravens in Baltimore with Dennis Dixon at quarterback several years ago. Dixon was just cut from the Ravens' practice squad after not making the Steelers' roster. A few things remember: It's still the Steelers, who are built on defense, not offense, and they will be at home. They also might have all three running backs healthy and just try to run over the Ravens, which has worked to great success against the Ravens this season.