The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) will travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to face the New England Patriots (6-2). The game will kickoff at 4:45 (ET) and will be broadcasted live on CBS.
Earlier this week I asked the question, is there any chance these Pittsburgh Steelers can compete with likes of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? I believe the chances are slim to none. The Steelers aren’t capable of playing with a team like the Patriots, not this season at least.
Tom Brady continues to impress season after season, and this season is no different. Brady’s number aren’t jaw dropping like they have been in previous seasons but what’s impressive about Brady is his ability to win games with the weapons he has surrounding him. Inexperienced receivers have made up the roster for the Patriots, but an experienced quarterback has made up for that.
The Patriots have managed to bring there record to 6-2 entering week 9. Brady’s done it with almost no name receivers but he did get his tight end, Rob Gronkowski back. Wide receiver Danny Amendola has also returned. The help surrounding Brady is becoming less inexperienced and now that these two men, Gronk and Amendola are back, the Patriots are even better than the were to start the season.
The Steelers on the other hand have had little success this season. Surrounding Ben Roethlisberger are receivers that have been here for a few seasons now. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery are key receivers every week but haven’t made Roethlisberger’s life any easier. Roethlisberger, like Brady, got his tight end back after starting the season without him. Heath Miller has been able to provide a boost to the Steelers’ offense but even Miller has displayed some signs of unreliability.
To start the season, the Steelers’ running game was a mess. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell was injured and didn’t return until week 4. Bell has given the running game life again and it’s evident that he’s the back of the future. He shows a lot of patience when he runs the ball and the Steelers have to be happy with how Bell is doing.
However, the running game still isn’t all the way there. The Steelers need to have an established running game in order to relieve some of the pressure from Roethlisberger. It’s getting there but it isn’t all the way there.
The Patriots’ defense certainly isn’t the best in the league, maybe not even top 10, but up to this point they’ve played solid enough to get the job done. Last week, the defense let the Miami Dolphins take a big lead early; they were bailed out by their offense, but were able to finish the game in the end.
The Steelers’ defense started the season strong and the struggles were on offense. The defense has gotten over the hump of going multiple games without a turnover. The defense continued their success in the turnover category after coming away with some in Oakland. Turnovers will be hard to come by this week: Brady isn’t a quarterback who makes a lot of mistakes. It’ll be up the Steelers’ defensive front to get pressure on Brady.
Brady is a pocket passer, and a great one at that. He isn’t Roethlisberger, who excels outside the pocket. That has to be the goal of the Steelers’ defense on Sunday. Force Brady to get rid of the ball quick, make him to throw on the move and keep him uncomfortable.
The pass rush hasn’t been exceptional for the Steelers, but LaMarr Woodley is making his presence known each game as he continues to be the Steelers’ best pass rusher. If Woodley can cause some havoc in the backfield, Brady may slip up and the Steelers could get a takeaway.
Even though most of the Steelers’ season hasn’t been fun to watch, one player who has been fun to watch it safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu is looking a lot like the Polamalu we’ve all come to know. It’s going to be interesting to see if the Steelers use him as a linebacker to try and get to Brady, or utilize him in the secondary to cover the likes of Gronkowski. Polamalu is the Steelers player in the spotlight for week 9.
The Steelers really can’t afford to lose another game. The season isn’t completely dead but it’s certainly on its death bed. This week 9 matchup is a must win for the black and gold and it’s going to take everything in them to pull off a victory.
It’ll be a miracle if the Steelers win this one. So I see the Patriots rolling at home 27-13. Brady at home is just out of the Steelers’ league.
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