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STEELERS-BROWNS PAIRING TO FEATURE `DEEE-FENSSE’

SHARE STEELERS-BROWNS PAIRING TO FEATURE `DEEE-FENSSE’

Deeee-fenssse! Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers' fans preach it, and their heroes practice it.

The Steelers (11-3) are counting on their defense, ranked No. 1 overall and in passing in the NFL, to stifle the Browns (10-4) and help them clinch the AFC Central championship Sunday at Pittsburgh.The Browns are counting on their defense, which has allowed only one 100-yard ground-gainer this season and the fewest points in the league, to blunt the Steelers' major weapon - the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack. Running backs Barry Foster and Bam Morris, both slowed by injuries, are expected to play for Pittsburgh.

Should the Browns win, they could clinch the division title with a victory over Seattle plus a Pittsburgh loss to San Diego in season-ending games next weekend. Cleveland and Pittsburgh already have clinched playoff berths.

The Steelers won the first meeting of these teams this season, 17-10 at Cleveland, and if past history is any indicator, they could have the Browns right where they want them. The Steelers have beaten the Browns in four straight games and in 20 of 24 meetings at Three Rivers Stadium.

Cleveland goes into Three Rivers this time with the momentum of a 19-14 victory over the Cowboys at Dallas last weekend. The runnning of Leroy Hoard and, of course, the defense were keys to the victory.

There will be two NFL games Saturday - Minnesota at Detroit and Denver at San Francisco.

Other Sunday matchups will have New England at Buffalo, Miami at Indianapolis, the New York Giants at Philadelphia, Atlanta at Green Bay, San Diego at the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams at Chicago, Houston at Kansas City, Cincinnati at Arizona, Tampa Bay at Washington and the Los Angeles Raiders at Seattle.

Dallas plays at New Orleans Monday night.

Vikings at Lions

The Vikings (9-5) will try to continue their containment of running back Barry Sanders, and clinch their second NFC Central title in three years. Sanders has run for an NFL-leading 1,721 yards for the Lions (8-6) this season, but the Vikings have held him to a per-game average 49.5 yards since he rushed for 220 yards in a 1991 game.

Broncos at 49ers

The 49ers (12-2), the NFC West champion, will be trying to stretch their winning streak to 10 games. In Steve Young, they have the NFL's top-rated passer. Quarterback John Elway, bothered by a knee injury, is questionable for the Broncos (7-7).