Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Nobody wants to play the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium. Teams seldom win there. When the Patriots lose a home game, it makes news because it is such a rarity.
Pittsburgh has had particular trouble with that stadium. The Steelers have won only once in New England (2008). The Patriots are tough on them overall but particularly unbeatable when they’re at home.
But New England isn’t the juggernaut it was three or four years back. The Pats are now mortal thanks to age and some deficiencies in talent.
For the Patriots, victory starts with getting the ball deep. Danny Amendola replaces Wes Welker, but it is unclear how much deep speed he will give New England. The Patriots may be best served by adding a fast receiver in the draft.
If Pittsburgh can shut down Tom Brady and the passing game, it can stay with New England. As with other top teams, the best route to victory is winning the battle for time of possession and the battle for field position.
This will, without a doubt, be the toughest game for Pittsburgh in 2013, especially since the Steelers will be returning from the other side of the country after playing the Raiders the week before.