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Polamalu is most-needed Steeler

To go from 6-2 and end up 6-5 is hard to take.

A chance to win the division title was within the Steelers' grasp a couple weeks ago. Now, they need some help to get back into the division title chase and are simply relegated to contending for a wild-card playoff berth.

That might be a bit of a fall for the Steelers, but you don't need to get a first-round bye in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals made it to the big game last year after playing in the first round. And I think the Steelers did pretty well playing all of their games on the road before winning Super Bowl XL.

The biggest need the Steelers have right now is to get Troy Polamalu healthy. The team can't win a game right now, let alone a playoff game, without him.

A healthy Polamalu makes this team dangerous. That's why I'm not ready to hit the panic button on this season just yet.

Polamalu's impact on the defense reminds me of the Colts' need for safety Bob Sanders when they won the Super Bowl a couple seasons ago. The Colts defense was that much better with Sanders. He gave them a spark. Actually, it was more of an explosion. The same goes with Polamalu and the Steelers.

They need Troy roaming the field, wreaking havoc on the opponents' offense.

It doesn't look likely that No. 43 will return this week.

That leaves the Steelers needing a win against the lowly Oakland Raiders.

They can do it. Heck, they need to do it if they want to play meaningful games in January.

And if Polamalu is back by then, watch out, anything's possible.

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