Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots

Posted on Dec 17 2017 - 2:40pm by Rachael McKriger
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It’s the game that Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been waiting for.

Today, the New England Patriots will be given a big Pittsburgh welcome to Heinz Field. By Pittsburgh welcome, I really mean that the Patriots will deal with a loud, rambunctious crowd.

As they should be; should the Steelers beat the Patriots — and should the Jacksonville Jaguars lose to the Houston Texans — the Steelers would clinch home field advantage in the playoffs.

That’s a big deal, especially since that would prevent the team from traveling up to New England, should there be a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game.

The Steelers have to get through Tom Brady, though.

Despite not putting up MVP numbers this season, Brady is still Brady. Like it or not, the guy is one of the best quarterbacks to ever throw the pigskin.

This year, Brady has thrown 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. Brady has a 105.2 quarterback rating compared to Ben Roethlisberger’s rating of 91.1.

Roethlisberger has 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, which he’ll need to be careful marking today.

The Patriots have an experienced backfield consisting of Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler and Duron Harmon.

McCourty and Chung currently lead the defense in tackles, but only have one interception each. Duron leads the defense with three interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Steelers defense has had their fair share of interceptions and splash plays.

Despite the absence of Ryan Shazier, Arthur Moats and Vince Williams have majorly stepped up. Also, rookie T.J. Watt is a sack machine, totaling six this season.

Don’t be surprised if Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin elects to throw James Harrison on the field against his old friend Brady.

On offense for the Steelers, Roethlisberger is helping Antonio Brown climb atop the MVP talk, throwing 99 completed passes to him for 1,509 yards.

Brown has nine touchdowns this season.

The Steelers, who are normally rely on the running back, need to have a big game from Le’Veon Bell today.

Bell hasn’t had a 100+ game since Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week against the Baltimore Ravens, Bell rushed the ball 13 times for a mere 48 yards. However, he has been productive in the air, catching nine passes for 77 yards.

This is easily the biggest test of the year for the Steelers. In the last five games, the Steelers have won four games off Chris Boswell game-winning field goals.

While that’s great for Boswell and all, the Steelers need to rely on reaching the end zone, and keeping Brady and his offense off the field.

Grab some comfort food for this one Steelers fans. It’s going to be a heck of a game.

Photo of Tom Brady, New England Patriots, and Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, from Sept. 10, 2015, courtesy of Charles Krupa/Associated Press.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger on Twitter for all Steelers and Riverhounds coverage.

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