Well we are here. It is week 8 in the NFL and it has come down once again to a home game against the New England Cheatriots, I mean Patriots. At this point in the season, the Pats are 5-1 and have the best record in the AFC. The Steelers, however, are 5-2, and with a win against the Patriots at Heinz Field, would become the leader atop the AFC. I'd be the worst Steelers fan in history if I tried to slant this little post down the middle so I'll get this out of the way now...I hate the Patriots; I hate Bill Belichick; I hate Tom Brady. I've never met any of these people. I don't know them personally. Are they nice guys? Don't know. Don't care. I hate them for what they have done over the last 10-12 years to my Steelers. That should be enough.
I wish I could say this was going to be another easy stroll through the park but I don't think that is the case. The Pats are 4-1 at Heinz Field. Yes, I said 4-1. That means that 80% of the time, they win. I believe that is the best record for any team not in the AFC North against the Steelers at home since Heinz Field opened in 2001 (of this I am probably incorrect but it sounded good and makes my point).
The Patriots are also 9-2 after a bye week since Belichick took over the team in 1999. This means that they take the extra time with the week off to prepare and dissect their opposing defense's tendencies so that by the time game day arrives, they have already beaten their opponent in their minds and in the playbook. Their 8 game, post-bye week win streak proves that.
Also, Tom Brady is 6-1 against the Steelers. 6-1!! No other quarterback (again, not in the AFC North) can say that. He wins at home, on the road, in the playoffs, it doesn't matter. The guy just has a brain for football and can breakdown a defense like a great field general in battle. I don't think I would even be as upset if any of these games would have been tightly contested. But in the last two wins alone, Brady has passed for 749 yards with seven touchdowns. In all, he has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdown. And the worst part, he does this from an upright position. For some reason, the annually top ranked defense has the most problems getting him to the ground or picking off his passes. He's a surgeon and I hate him.
So, what do the Steelers need for a win? There is no doubt that New England is going to light up the Steelers' defense. I'm guessing there will be, once again, a ton of yards and the score to match. But the difference this year is that Big Ben and the Steelers' offense will do the same thing. Pittsburgh has moved, slowly, from a run-first type, punch-you-in-the-mouth kind of team to an air-it-out, deep threat, yardage-by-chunks kind of offense. I'm not saying I like this but it is pretty exciting to watch. The edge still goes to Tom but not by much, in my opinion. The real difference has to be in the defense. The Steelers are better equipped to stop the Patriots than the other way around. Don't expect to see three TE touchdowns like last year. And don't expect to see Wes Welker run loose all over Heinz Field.
So my prediction...Steelers 27 Patriots 24. It's going to take virtually a flawless game. And these guys in particular need to step it up and play perfect.
Yards will be at a premium and Mendy will need to break a few to keep Pittsburgh in this.
Not much more can be said about these two. Ben has to be perfect. PERFECT!! No turnovers. No stupid sacks. No throwing the ball up in desperation. And there is no doubt Troy will be all over the field.
Sanders will start in place of Hines Ward. Welcome to the big show.