The New England Patriots (10-3) and the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet this Sunday in what could be a preview of the AFC Championship Game. Start time from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is scheduled for 4:25 EST between the top two seeds in the conference. The game can be seen in most markets on CBS, and as always, on NFL Sunday Ticket.
The Patriots are going to need a quick bounce back from last Monday’s surprise defeat to a Miami team that was hanging on by a thread. Now they must go into Pittsburgh on a short week after having their eight-game winning streak snap.
Tom Brady had one of his worst games of the season, and injuries are piling up for New England. But even so, Brady has still yet to have his talents recede, as he’s nearly thrown for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns with three games left to go. It won’t go down as one of his better seasons, but the Patriots offense is still fourth in the league in scoring.
For the Steelers, they just keep chugging along. They’ve had nail-biting wins three consecutive weeks against Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. Even so, they were big wins to get, and QB Ben Roethlisberger is finding a way to push them through. It helps having Antonio Brown, a wide receiver that very few times have found an answer for this season.
The Patriots are currently field goal-favorites on the road.
New England has had Pittsburgh’s number (8-2 in last 10 games) for several years now. And every time it seems the Steelers have what it takes to move past them, that turns out to not be the case. And not a lot has changed between these teams.
The Patriots are an incredible 13 of their last 16 ATS on the road, and six for their last seven overall. They may’ve been thinking past Miami—even if coach Bill Belichick didn’t think that—so that shouldn’t mean that Monday’s game will be much of a sign of what’s to come.
The Steelers have been living on the edge the past few weeks, and even with the “Killer B’s” of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell playing well, that has a history of ending against New England. The Patriots have lost only three of their last 15 spreads against Pittsburgh. And if their opponents play the way they did defensively last week against the Ravens, Brady will nickel and dime them all the way down the field.
Losing LB Ryan Shazier has been a big blow for Pittsburgh. With TE Rob Gronkowski back for the Pats, those two aspects could be the difference in the game. This is of course only if Brady rebounds. But it’s not often the veteran quarterback has back-to-back poor performances. He’s much more likely to have a fire lit under him after Monday’s poor showing.
Look for this game to provide a little more offense than expected, with important injuries like Shazier for Pittsburgh and DT Alan Branch for New England adding to the lost numbers on defense. And Brown will certainly have his share of highlights for Pittsburgh. But expect Brady to find a way against this team once again.
For those that bet against him in these types of games, he’s repeatedly made losers out of them.