Patriots vs Steelers

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Patriots vs Steelers | This is the diversion we’ve been anticipating for quite a long time as the Patriots (10-3) will meet the Steelers (11-2) in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening. Never again do the groups have a similar record, as the Patriots tumbled to the Dolphins on Monday, yet the amusement still has similar ramifications.

The victor will no doubt be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. On the off chance that the Steelers win, they would kill the Patriots from thought, as they would be up two diversions with two amusements to play and hold the sudden death round. The Jaguars could sneak up on Pittsburgh, however it would take a considerable measure for that to happen. On the off chance that the Patriots win and win in Weeks 16 and 17, they would be the No. 1 seed.Patriots vs Steelers

It is a very important game for the Patriots as with a loss they could potentially be the No. 3 seed and play on wild card weekend. This would be the case if the Jaguars win out, regardless of what the Patriots do.

This is one of the biggest regular-season games in the Bill Belichick era with so much at stake.

Patriots vs. Steelers
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017
4:25 p.m., CBS
Patriots -3, over/under 54.5

3 keys to the game

Third down and red-zone play Patriots vs Steelers

This game will be won in these two areas. The four-point plays in the red zone that turn touchdowns into field goals likely will be the difference in the game. Offensively on third down, the Steelers are sixth (42.1 percent), while the Patriots are eighth (41.9), so very, very close. Defensively, the Steelers are eighth (36.2), while the Patriots are 16th (39.3), so advantage Steelers. Offensively in the red zone, the Patriots are scoring touchdowns 57.1 percent of the time (13th), while the Steelers are scoring touchdowns 48 percent of the time (25th), so advantage Patriots. Defensively in the red zone, the Patriots are seventh, allowing touchdowns 47.4 percent of the time, while the Steelers are 23rd, allowing touchdowns 58 percent of the time, so advantage Patriots. These stats give the Patriots the edge, but the only thing that matters is what happens on the field Sunday.

Eliminate big plays

Patriots vs Steelers | It’s impossible to completely defend an offense with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, so the biggest thing will be not allowing any big plays. It would appear the Patriots will have the majority of their focus on Brown with either Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler on him with help over the top and take their chances with Bell. They would hope to set up third-and-short and win some of those battles. If the Patriots allow a number of big plays, they will be in a whole lot of trouble.

Ride Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have dominated the Steelers of late and the Patriots need this to continue. In 10 games against Pittsburgh since 2007, Brady is completing 72 percent of his passes for 2,273 yards with 22 touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 127.5. Then for Gronkowski, in five career games he’s caught 30 passes on 36 targets (83.3 percent) for 496 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s averaging an insane 99.2 yards per game, and two of his three career three-touchdown games have come against Pittsburgh.Patriots vs Steelers

Fun facts

1. Brady is 10-2 against Steelers in his career with a 115.1 quarterback rating, which is the highest against any team for any quarterback since 1991 (min. 10 starts).

2. The Steelers are 5-0 in games decided by three or fewer points in 2017 and 7-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points.

3. Bell has had his three highest receiving games of the year in the last three weeks (77 yards, 106 yards, 88 yards).

4. In the last two seasons when scoring 18 points or more (including the playoffs), the Steelers are 24-1.

5. With 76 yards receiving, Brandin Cooks would reach 1,000 for the season and become the 12th Patriots player in franchise history to reach that mark.


Steelers 30, Patriots 27

This wasn’t an easy one to pick, and we wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Patriots pull this one out on the road, but the Steelers just have too many weapons on offense. New England’s defense is banged up and may not have enough to stop the Steelers offense. It is also worth noting Pittsburgh hasn’t had Roethisberger, Brown and Bell for an entire game against New England in quite some time. The Patriots’ best chance of winning is not allowing many big plays, and winning the battle on third down and in the red zone.

Patriots vs Steelers

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