12/13/18-New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers are in dire need of a win after having lost their last 3 games, in rather unimpressive fashion. Their reward? A game against a New England Patriots team who’s coming off a loss and just needs one win to clinch the AFC East. 

The Steelers find the Baltimore Ravens hot on their heels only a ½ game back with a far easier schedule, meaning the black and gold really need to win against New England, a task that hasn’t exactly been an easy one to accomplish over the years. 

The Patriots do have four losses this season and all have been on the road, something the Steelers will need to take advantage of.


Here Are The Keys To Victory:


Pressure Tom Brady:

Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he has a history of destroying the Steelers.  In his last eight games vs. the Steelers, Brady is 7-1 with 23 touchdowns vs. only one interception. The only way to even attempt to prevent these gaudy numbers is to pressure him.  He’s not as strong when the pocket collapses on him and he isn’t given time to throw the ball down field.  That means the front seven are going to need to do their jobs extremely effectively, specifically Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuiit, TJ Watt and Bud Dupree.  If these guys can collapse the pocket, they may just have a chance.


Find A Way To Stop Rob Gronkowski:

Rob Gronkowski has crushed the black and gold over the years. It seems he almost always goes for close to 100 yards and a touchdown or two.  Couple that with the fact that the Steelers are one of the worst teams in the league at stopping tight ends this season and there seems to be a recipe for disaster. 

Last year Keith Butler had Sean Davis trying to stop Gornkowski and it worked for about two and a half quarters before “The Gronk” blew up.  I think Davis is a bit better this year and he’ll draw the first opportunity to stop Gronk but if things go awry, Butler better make adjustments quickly.


The Steelers Must Rush The Ball:

No matter who is playing running back for Pittsburgh, the Steelers must find a way to rush the football to provide a balanced offense but more importantly to control the clock. By keeping the clock moving, ideally, the Steelers can keep Tom Brady off the field.  The Steelers offense can score with anyone but the problem is their defense can give up a plethora of points to anyone. The black and gold must shoot for a lower scoring game, one they win late.


The Defense Has To Finally Create Turnovers:

The only way I see this team even having a chance to win this game is by creating turnovers. Considering they have only created 12 all season, it’s a tall task to ask but it’s necessary. If they can flip the field, gain the advantage of setting up their offense and stop Brady and the Patriots all at once, they may give themselves a chance.



The Patriots are not what they have been over the last five years or so but they are still a team the Steelers cannot beat.  They haven’t proven they can do it and until they do, I won’t believe it. Despite the fact the Patriots have four losses on the road this season, I don’t see them getting a fifth one this week.  The Patriots are going to win this one 34-21 and the Steelers may find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in.


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