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Steelers Gab 2016 Week 7 NFL Preview – New England at Pittsburgh

Tom Brady

Sunday’s battle between the Steelers and Patriots at Heinz Field was supposed to be a preview of the AFC Title game in January hopefully to be played right back in Pittsburgh.

Instead, with Ben Roethlisberger going under the knife Monday morning, today’s game between the Steelers and Patriots simply doesn’t have the same feel, and for good reason.

No one thinks the Steelers, with Landry Jones at quarterback, can win. Jones started two games last season for the injured Roethlisberger, and while he barley played the second one (the famous Cleveland game in which Ben came in and buried the Browns), he had some good moments, and some bad.

He’s going to need a ton more good today, as the Steelers look to find a way, any way, to slow down a ticked off Tom Brady and a New England team that look sadly like the team to beat in the AFC.

With that, today we break down what the Steelers have to try to do – and if there’s any shot they can do it.

1. Success in the Run to Set Up the Pass – Early

If the Steelers offense is going to have success, they have to be able to use BOTH Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, and be able for those two to find a way to get chunks of yards early in the game. The Pats are 12th in the NFL, allowing 92 yards per game on the ground, and the Steelers easily have to go over that mark if they want a chance to win. Look for Todd Haley to try to use his two backs, and then go to some safe play-action for Jones to try and build his confidence, which could also go a long way in getting the crowd in the game for the Steelers.

2. Safeties Have to Play Well

Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski are both players that can pick apart a defense, and if the Steelers don’t play close attention to the both of them, it’s going to be a long day. Gronk and Brady and just getting to know each other again, and it appears Bennett is the one who is reaping the rewards of Gronk’s injury with a big early part of 2016. Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden will both need to have big games against these two horses, and also make sure when they do make catches to bring them down and not let them run free. Let’s not forget what happened in the opener last season when Gronk went off for a huge night against the Steelers.

3. Find Anyway You Can to Disrupt Brady

Last season in their game Brady was just on target, hitting for 288 yards and four TD’s, and while the Steelers did get to him a little, this season the pass rush has been one word – awful. 8 sacks in 6 games isn’t going to get it done, and while this team lingers to get to the QB, it’s a big reason even last week an average QB like Ryan Tannehill was able to sit back and pick them apart with some big plays downfield. Keith Butler needs to get more sacks from this group, either by rotating pass rushers, or by scheme, and as if today didn’t look bad enough, give Brady time and this could get ugly early.

Prediction – The Steelers without Ben just don’t have the horses to compete with the Pats. It will be one of those days you hope the team can simply hang in, and if they are in the game in the fourth quarter maybe they can make a play or two to pull off the upset. With Ben this would have been a lot of fun, without him, it looks like just another day where Brady and his mates march into Pittsburgh and beat up the Steelers, as Brady will walk away today with an all-time mark of 7-2 against the Steelers. New England 34 Pittsburgh 14

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. DrGeorge

    October 23, 2016 at 9:23 am

    The Patriots are 5-1 coming into this game, even though Brady missed four of those games on suspension. They won because Belichick developed Garapollo and drafted Brissel. In the past four years, Tomlin developed no one behind Ben R. L. Jones is only marginally better today than when he joined the club. So don’t blame Jones for the predicament we’re in. Blame the coach who failed to prepare a worthy backup.

    Mr. Loede writes: “The Steelers without Ben just don’t have the horses to compete with the Pats.” In truth, even with Ben, the Steelers wouldn’t have the horses to beat the Pats today. After all, whatever his faults, L. Jones doesn’t play defense or O-line. Neither does Ben. So, if we lose today, as seems likely, don’t heap all of the blame on poor L. Jones. This is still a team game, and lately the team hasn’t played very well.

  2. Jay

    October 23, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    The dolphins are saying, “how come we can’t be playing Pittsburgh again this weekend!?”

  3. Dave B.

    October 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    What makes no sense to me is , Ben is now in his mid thirties and his body has taken a beating during the last twelve years . A large part was Bens refusal to live to fight another day but regardless of that , no one in the organization from the top down has made an effort to prepare for the future when Ben is no longer there . This is a team that had alot of 8-8 and 9-7 seasons with the likes of Bubby Brister , Kent Graham , Todd Blackledge and Kordell Stewert playing quarterback . You would think after all that and more than two decades of mediocre football that they would have learned their lessons . They obviously havent .

  4. Jay

    October 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with you two. Doc points one of the fingers at tomlin! Finally! How w come no one else does? Or, more aptly put, how come when some of us do, the automoton talking heads always dispel that and say, “he’s doing such a good job!” Makes me wanna puke when there is such blind loyalty to a guy who has done absolutely nothing so far with HIS guys meaning no, since Cowher’s guys are all gone, Tomlinson guys have done jack and shit combined.

  5. Jay

    October 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    By the way, the four losses in a row Ravens will rejuvenate their season by beating us in two weeks. Think I’m being pessimistic? How about I’m just going off the extremely LARGE sample the organization has given us the last four years! Anyone who predicts a Steelers win in Baltimore just simply hasn’t been paying attention!

  6. Jay

    October 23, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Doc let me ask ya…I know there aren’t many over-headed people who post in places like this….I know I’m not one of them…you seem to be, however so my question is, realistically, what kind of record or circumstance would it take to get the Rooneys to not extend tomlin (which is how they typically get rid of head coaches)? 4-12? 5-11? Also, does anyone know how much time is left on his contract?

  7. DrGeorge

    October 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Jay, I don’t know what “over-headed” means, so I guess I’m not one of them. I do appreciate your vote of confidence, however, in raising the question with me. Here is my two cents worth — and it isn’t worth one penny more.

    The Rooney family was one of the prime movers for the adoption of the rule requiring NFL owners to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. The rule is named after them — the Rooney rule. I have no idea when Tomlin’s contract expires, since it has been extended at least once, maybe more; but my guess is that the Rooneys will not replace Tomlin unless he disgraces the franchise by doing something illegal (most unlikely) or completely mismanages the team. The won-loss record is only one part of that equation.

    To my knowledge, the Rooneys have never expressed dissatisfaction with Tomlin, at least not publicly. As long as franchise revenues rise or remain steady, Tomlin’s job will probably remain secure. Not that I agree with that — but that’s how I see it at this time. However, as we both know, things change fast in the NFL. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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