New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
The big game is finally here. The game that everyone has been waiting for since last off-season. The New England Patriots are coming to town and the #1 seed is on the line. The Patriots just lost on Monday Night Football to the Miami Dolphins and will have a short turnaround to now face an amped up Steelers team on a mission.
I find it problematic that the Pats lost this past week, they rarely, if ever, drop two in a row. The Steelers need this win to clinch a first round bye, if they lose, it’s still possible they could fall to the 3rd seed. If the Steelers do win this game, they could actually knock the Patriots down to the 3rd seed, if Jacksonville won out.
A lot on the line…
Here Are The Keys To Victory:
1. The defense absolutely must blitz Tom Brady. Brady is far less effective when he faces mass amounts of pressure. If the Steelers can not only rush Brady but get to him, they can force him into throws he doesn’t like to make.
2. The offense has to control the clock. Plain and simple. The best defense the Steelers have right now is their offense but in this case, they need to drive the field in methodical fashion, in particular with Le’Veon Bell, to keep the Patriots offense off the field. The black and gold defense has too many holes and gives up too many big plays to get into a high scoring affair with New England.
3. Someone will need to contain Rob Gronkowski. One of the linebackers, I’m thinking Vince Williams, is going to have to keep the Gronk under wraps. Far easier said than done.
4. Maybe most importantly, the coaching staff needs to make adjustments during the game. Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin in particular, have notoriously been out maneuvered by Bill Belichick in this game. It’s time for them to step up and make adjustments on the fly vs. sticking with a plan that doesn’t work.
Here Are A Few Things To Watch:
1. You have to watch all of the ‘Killer B’s. They have all been on fire lately, how will they top last weeks performance? It’s nearly impossible!
2. We’ll need to see how Sean Spence and Arthur Moats are used this week. Neither did a very admirable job filling in for Ryan Shazier last week. They’ll need to do a far better job this week.
3. I’m interested to see how the Steelers plan to stop Dion Lewis. He’s another duel threat treat the black and gold get to contend with this week.
4. With all the off-season talk of Big Ben retiring, will this be the last time he and Brady face each other? I’m betting no, but it is possible.
This game has the potential to be a classic and one that could truly determine the Steelers path to the Super Bowl. I think the Steelers will have a better showing than they did in January but I don’t think their defense is ready to stop Brady just yet. I think these teams will face again in the playoffs and I believe the black and gold will be ready that time but for now, I see the Patriots stealing this one 38-28.
Steel Nation Association