Patriots vs. Steelers Preview: Patriots Look To Rebound After Embarrassing Loss
In this weeks Sunday night game it will be a battle of two 6-2 teams as the Patriots travel to Steel Town to play the Steelers. It is a battle between two of the top teams in the AFC, though the teams are coming off a very different set of results.
The Patriots are coming off of a shocking loss to the Browns where they were, to put it lightly, stomped in all phases of the game. The Steelers however are coming off of an important win over the Bengals on Monday night football which helped them keep up with the Ravens in the AFC North race.
Here are some key match ups to watch out for in the game.
Steelers Secondary Vs. Brady & Co.
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The Steelers may have the best defence in terms of points allowed and the fourth best in terms of yardage allowed. However if there is one aspect where they are let down it's their pass defence and more specifically their cornerbacks. In fact the Steelers have allowed at least 248 passing yards against every one of their opponents since week four.
Also in the four games Brady has played against Pittsburgh so far in his career he has done very well. He averages over 300 yards each game and last time threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns.
If Brady can have a good game then it will certainly ease the pressure on the rest of the team, but one thing is for sure and it's that he won't be able to do it on his own. Which bring us to our next key....
Hernandez and Gronkowski
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So far this year both rookie tight ends for the Patriots have been key weapons for Brady. Last week it was both good and bad as Hernandez caught his first two NFL touchdown passes while Gronkowski had his worst game of his young career so far.
So far this year the rookie pair have combined for 615 combined yards and five touchdowns, with Hernandez leading all of the Patriots in receiving yards.
If Hernandez and Gronkowski both have good games then it could go a long way in helping the Patriots moving the ball up and down the field. And against this tough Steelers defence you need all the help you can get.
Rashard Mendenhall Vs. Patriots Run D
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If you discount last week then the Patriots have been excellent against the run since their bye week. They kept Adrian Peterson to his season low YPC, and kept both the Chargers and Ravens to low YPC averages as well.
Adding to this the Pittsburgh offensive line is banged up with left tackle Max Starks out, and also left guard Chris Kemoeatu possibly being out. And even if Kemoetu plays then he won't be 100%.
With these things in mind you definitely can't say for certain that Mendenhall will have a Peyton Hillis like game.
Ben Roethlisberger & Co. Vs. Patriots Secondary
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The Patriots secondary has been poor all year with the Patriots coming 29th against the pass, letting opponents gain almost 270 yards through the air every game.
Ben Roethlisberger should be able to have a good game against the Patriots with the help of his two top receivers, Mike Wallace and Hines Ward.
If the Patriots want to limit the Steelers then they have to take away the deep threat of Mike Wallace, almost like they did to Moss but maybe not as much attention.
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In all honesty this should be the toughest game for the Patriots all year and they may very well lose out to the Steelers who could be the best team in the NFL right now.
One thing you have to keep in mind though is that you can never count Brady and Belichick out of a game, especially when people are doubting them as that is when they are the most dangerous.
So in closing I'm not expecting a Patriots win but I wouldn't be surprised in they managed to pull one off.
Score Prediction: Patriots 21-24 Steelers