Today at 4:25 p.m. Foxborough will be rocking and rolling when the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots kick off.
The Steelers and the Patriots still have a rivalry and it still means a lot to both teams to win this game.
Tom Brady has broken the steel curtain several times over his career and fans of Pittsburgh hate the sound of his name and on the Pats side, the Steelers gave Brady and company a whopping last time they played in 2011.
Both teams are sluggish on offense but playing good defense so this game should be a slugfest.
The Patriots have to stop Kenbrell Thompkins cousin Antonio Brown first and foremost.
Talib may get this match against Brown, Big Ben’s go to guy.
Aqib Talib might be making his return today and it will be a welcoming sight. I can’t imagine he will play a lot of snaps but when he does play he will face a shorter, faster guy in Brown.
The Pats secondary that has been good all season minus the 2nd Jets game, they should shut down the Steelers receivers. Whether it’s Talib or Dennard on Brown they have to shut him, and Sanders down.
Then they have to stop tight end Heath Miller. Miller may have a good game today because a linebacker will probably be stuck on him and I don’t see the Patriots having any good coverage linebackers on the team.
Miller is Big Ben’s guy and one of his favorite targets and will look to him often today so whoever is on Miller at any given time needs to stick with him.
Another big thing the defense will probably try to do is keep Big Ben in the pocket. It is much easier to do that now than before thanks to Todd Haley.
If you let Big Ben get out of the pocket and start running around back there big plays are following, but if you keep him in the pocket Big Ben isn’t the same QB. You would think as big as he is he would be great in the pocket but he’s not, he is much better on the run so New England has to keep him in the pocket.
On offense the Patriots have to run the football and run it with Stevan Ridley.
Ridley is a really good runningback and the best one on the team but has been in Belichick’s dog house for some reason but today he shouldn’t be and he should play a lot.
When the Patriots run they are a better offensive team and they score more points and it helps the passing offense.
Secondly they have to protect Tom Brady.
Nothing makes a great QB look like an average one then bad line play. In every game but one the Pats have allowed too many hits and sacks on their QB that has lead to his hand swelling and poor play. That line needs to be fixed before too long because Brady needs to go into the playoffs trusting them and it is the only way the Pats make it far in postseason play if the O-Line plays up to snuff.
The receivers need to find separation.
The receivers didn’t do a good job of getting open in the 2nd half against the Jets and they did a bad job of getting open against the Dolphins.
Some of the sacks were the line’s fault and some were coverage sacks (receivers not open). You saw Brady more than once run around in the pocket and wait for what seem like forever for a player to get open but nobody did. The receivers are not doing a great job this year at all.
The receivers are dropping a lot of passes, Brady doesn’t trust the rookies, and nobody is getting open consistently.
All of this is why I wish people would STOP blaming Brady for all the crap he is dealing with on offense. The receivers and O-Linemen deserve most of the blame.
Against the 2nd ranked pass defense in the NFL, the receivers will need to step up big time so Brady doesn’t have to continually force it to Rob Gronkowski.
I think this will be a close low scoring game with two sluggish offense looking like it for most of the game.