The Steelers come into this weekends AFC Championship Game a 6 point underdog at New England. That has more to do with the current performance of the Steelers Quarterback and his inability to beat Tom Brady in games like this. With that said, I will give you some reasons on both sides of the isle, why this game can be won by either team. Then I will make my picks.
Why The Steelers Win: The Steelers will win because when they played the first time around, they had no Lev Bell and Big Ben was not playing. Not to mention, the emergence of the defensive players the Steelers have flourishing right now is nothing but positive. Players like Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Justin Hargrave were not playing many snaps and now they are all major forces in this defense. The emergence of this trio has allowed a healthy Ryan Shazier play with speed and be everywhere on the field. Not to mention James Harrison was preserved throughout the season and is playing once again at a pro bowl level at age 38.
The Steelers were led by Landry Jones, who did not play too badly against the Pats defense but he is nothing better than an average backup. The Steelers were within a score late in the game and that is all you can ask for with your back up and lack of starters.
This time around, all the pieces are in place for Big Ben to take the reigns and win a huge game. That is if he plays his very best. Both teams will be up for this game and if the Steelers play their very best, the Gronkless Patriots can not win.
Why the Patriots win: The Patriots have history on their side. They have beaten the Steelers time and again in the Brady era. Regardless how the fans view the New England Patriots, the coach and quarterback always seem to do just enough to Beat the Steelers.
New England’s defense is similar to Kansas City in the fact they are good in the red zone. Coach Bill also knows how to take away your best player better than any coach in the history of the sport. If the Patriots are able to control Le’Veon Bell, that puts the game in Big Ben’s hands on the road where he has been nothing short of atrocious. In recent history, Ben is a turnover machine on the road. That leaves an offense that could in fact implode on a big stage.
In Turn, Tom Brady has been able to pick apart the Steelers defense in years past. His history of beating the Steelers is well known. Brady could very well be the best Quarterback of all time. He knows how to win and even without Gronk, Brady has plenty of weapons.
Predictions sure to go wrong: I see so many sides of this game and how it could play out for both teams. But I truly think the Steelers defense will be good enough to win. And I think Ben will play one of his better games of the season. Although I think he will throw an interception. And if he throws more than one, all bets are off.
I also do not think the Patriots take Bell out of the game. I think Le’Veon Bell has another big game and scores 2 touchdowns. Also think Pittsburgh gets a big day from the return team, aka Antonio Brown. And lastly, Brown will show up trying to prove himself.
Final score in Foxborough this weekend 32-19 Steelers.