PREVIEW: Patriots versus Steelers Sunday December 17

For all intents and purposes, we all know that Sunday afternoon’s game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers will determine which team will clinch the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and secure home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Interestingly enough, the Steelers enter this game as the underdog (the latest lines have the Patriots as three-point favorites in the football odds for Patriots game), despite the fact that Pittsburgh is not only riding an NFL-high eight-game winning streak and has the best record in the conference, but also has generally played a bit better in the friendly confines of Heinz Field, versus on the road (they’re 11-2 at home, compared to 11-3 on the road, since the start of 2016).

But then again, we’re talking about the Patriots. Even with the ugly loss against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday evening, New England is still the highest scoring team in the AFC (averaging 28.3 points per game), but also has the second-highest point scoring differential in the conference as well (+118). With the season-ending injury to Carson Wentz last Sunday, Tom Brady may have found himself in the proverbial driver’s seat for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, which would move him into a tie with Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, and Kurt Warner as the only individuals to win the award three times over the course of their career.

New England’s famous modus operandi of attacking opponents is described as “making their opponents play left-handed.” In other words, they identify what the opposing team does best, devotes their top resources towards eliminating the opponent from relying on that, and forcing them to have to rely on “Plan B.”

But in terms of the Steelers, which “poison” is the Patriots comfortable with picking? Do they focus on stopping wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is in the midst of an MVP campaign of his own? Or do they worry about stopping running back Le’Veon Bell, who leads the NFL in both rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage?

That’s the challenge the Steelers present. Bell’s patience, vision, and ability to rip off chunks of yards time and time again is absolutely demoralizing to opposing defenders, and he could make life very miserable for a Patriots rushing defense that’s ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, and dead last in the league in average yards per carry allowed by opposing runners.

And then there’s Brown, who is not only on pace for his 5th consecutive season with at least 100 receptions, 1,200 yards receiving, and nine touchdowns, but has averaged almost 10 catches for over 130 yards and more than one touchdown over the last four games. Brown has easily distanced himself from all other peers at his position, and sits alone atop the “best wide receiver in the NFL” discussion.

Of course, it’s not like the Patriots’ defense will be the only unit with the totally unenviable task of stopping the opposing offense; the Steelers offense will spend all week answering the nearly-unanswerable question of “how do we slow down Brady?” Pittsburgh’s pass defense was already something of a question mark, and with the loss of speedy linebacker Ryan Shazier (to a very scary spine injury on December 4th), that could open up spots on the middle of the field, which Brady is lethally effective at exploiting.

Plain and simple: in this battle among the AFC’s top heavyweights, expect an old-fashioned shootout between two of the best offenses the conference – and the league in general – has to offer.

Joshua Dobbs: the Next Great Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback

Folks, watch out!

Once Ben Roethlisberger retires, the Steelers will need a new quarterback to take over and lead the team to success. That quarterback is Joshua Dobbs.

Source: http://lastwordonprofootball.com/2017/09/29/joshua-dobbs-steelers-quarterback-future/

Steelers are Playing the Best Football in the NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers are without a doubt the best team in the NFL, though New England Fans will probably argue that idea. Sure, they had a sloppy start, but you only need to look at the NFL lines to know that the Steelers are definitely back at full strength.

Even this early in the season, everyone has to agree that Ben Roethlisberger is the top contender for MVP, and that isn’t the only arrow in the team’s quiver. They are basically playing the best football of any team around.

Certainly, you can always point to their loss in Philly; but you also cannot ignore the fact that their defense hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in any given game. Anyone that doubted Antonio Brown is now eating their words because he is definitely living up to the hype.

Martavis Bryant’s one-year suspension doesn’t even look as bad at the present, not with the way Sammie Coates stepped into his role and gave the Steelers an even deadlier edge.

Put simply, the Steelers are the team to beat in the NFL; they are presently 4-1 in a weak AFC North. They should be making another deep run into the playoffs soon enough. Of course, not enough people are giving the Steelers the attention they deserve, not when the Patriots are hogging all the attention.

That is all anyone can talk about right now, whether the Patriots can deliver on the hype and how Tom Brady will perform in the MVP race when he isn’t likely to play more than 12 games this season.

While Tom Brady continues to captivate fans, Roethlisberger is going unnoticed, this despite having performed so astoundingly in the season, essential to the success the Steelers have experienced so far.

The Steelers didn’t really warrant the attention at the start; sure, they did fine in their first three games, this despite Philadelphia ruining their September by adding a loss to their record.

However,Leveon Bell returned from a three-game suspension and the running back completely transformed the team. Just as Brady seems to be outshining Ben, Ben is also somewhat outshining Bell, who has played a crucial role in the amazing record Ben has amassed in the first third of this season.

Bell’s presence has had a notable impact on the Steelers; keep in mind the fact that Bell returned to the game just in time for the Steelers to take on teams like the Jets and the Chiefs, with Bell finishing with 210 yards for a 5.5ypc, this along with keeping his touches very low.

The Steelers weren’t floundering without Bell. His stand-in, DeAngelo Williams, did a decent job. At the very least, he was able to get yards, though mostly because the defense prioritized shutting down the passing attack.

Now Bell has returned to the Backfield and that puts opponents in a difficult position. With Brown and Coates in place, the Steelers definitely have the deadliest offense around.

Sure, all the hullaballoo surrounding the Patriots is probably deserved; however, the Steelers deserve even more love, boasting a full and healthy roster as well as a coach with playoff success and a quarterback at his peak.

Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers – Superbowl 51 Contenders

 

The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are two hungry talented teams with latent potential to  go all the way in  2016-7 as they did 5 years ago.

 

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson is never ever active in free agency. He just gets brand-new players from the draft, and this year was no different. All Green Bay did this year in free agency was re-sign linebacker Nick Perry, and add tight end Jared Cook as add another weapon for the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers at the helm, Green Bay will always be Super Bowl competitors. With receiver Jordy Nelson coming back next season, the Packers’ offense will return to its pre-2015 season hype, and it is going to be very dangerous.

The Pittsburgh Steelers nearly beat the Super Bowl champs in the Divisional Round in 2014, with injuries to star receiver Antonio Brown, Le’veon Bell and Deangelo Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger. They were a fumble from winning the AFC Divisional Round, and knocking off the ultimate Super Bowl champs. This team is absolutely loaded with skill, on both the offensive and defensive side. Pittsburgh’s offense is absolutely stacked, with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, brand-new tight end Ladarius Green, Le’veon Bell, and Deangelo Williams. Their defense is in fact also excellent, as they were a top 5 run defense last year. They simply need some more people in the secondary, and they can easily end up being genuine Super Bowl contenders.