Steelers Vs. Patriots Preview

13 11 2010

By Justin Cupler

The Patriots come into Heinz Field licking the wounds from the 34 – 14 thrashing they received from the lowly Cleveland Browns — the same team that Pittsburgh dominated in week 6. This could be good or this could be bad, the Patriots and Tom Brady rebound pretty well in adverse situations, but they are also trying to reestablish themselves post-Moss. Wes Welker has been struggling since Moss left, not scoring a single touchdown and his highest yardage total has been 53 yards since his decoy left.

The Steelers limped home after a near-collapse in week 9, with the referee-assisted drive in the 4th quarter. The Steelers were lucky to leave that game on top and have several question marks coming into Sunday night’s game. The biggest questions are on both lines. Will Chris Kemoeatu be available for the game, or will Doug Legursky have to step in — as he has done very well lately — and fill that huge hole in the line. The other major question mark is if Brett Keisel will be available or not, he is listed as doubtful with a bad hamstring. If not, Nick Eason will have to fill in again. Eason does a decent job, but he is not as consistent as Keisel and with Ziggy Hood slated to start for Aaron Smith, both ends are question marks.

From a pure statistic side, this game looks to be epic as you have the #1 scoring defense versus the #2 scoring offense, but as stated before Randy “Decoy” Moss is no longer in New England, therefore there is no receiver that is a legitimate threat to stretch the field every play. This threat alone left the underneath routes open for Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez to run free, or at least single covered. With this threat no longer available, the Patriots are left  trying to nickel and dime themselves down the field. Unfortunately for the Patriots, this plays to Pittsburgh’s strength.

When you nickel and dime the Steelers, it allows Troy Polamalu to sneak into the box and play his style of game. Lawrence Timmons is beginning to prove that he can cover most Tight Ends, so Hernandez should not be a problem, the only scary player is Deon Branch, who has had a knack for killing the Steelers, but he is a different player than he was with the Super Bowl era Patriots.

I see the Steelers cutting through New England’s very average — if not below average — defense and winning 24 – 10. Mendenhall should have his way with the Patriots defense, seeing how Peyton Hillis shredded them for 184 yards and 2 TDs.

My 10 Thoughts:

  1. The Patriots are beginning to miss Moss.
  2. Wes Welker is a contributing WR, not a feature WR.
  3. The same goes for Deon Branch.
  4. When your TE is the leading receiver that is not a good thing.
  5. Tom Brady will play, regardless of how he is listed on the injury report.
  6. When you put a top-10 defense against a top-10 offense, who wins? We will find out.
  7. Mike Wallace will make a mockery of the Patriots secondary.
  8. The Steelers need to jump out to a big lead and keep their foot on the Patriot’s throat until the game is over. Do not give Brady a glimmer of hope.
  9. The loss to the Browns could make the Patriot potentially dangerous.
  10. The Patriots are still the Patriots. They have a great Coach and a top-5 Quarterback, they can easily rebound and beat you.
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