In an AFC battle between two of the three current NFL QBs with multiple Super Bowl rings, Tom Brady and the 6-2 New England Patriots host Ben Roethlisberger and the 2-5 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
When: November 3, 2013, 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Steelers Player to Watch: Antonio Brown
Look for the Steelers to get Brown going early and often. He has one of the highest usage rates of any receiver in the NFL this season. Pittsburgh will look to get Brown the ball in space, utilizing his speed on bubble screens and reverses. Brown’s 56 receptions rank second in the NFL.
Patriots Player to Watch: Stevan Ridley
True we will be watching Ridley, although we may not get to until the second quarter. Bill Belichick has been starting the game off with Brandon Bolden and Legarrette Blount, and then inserting Ridley into the game around the third offensive series or so. This year’s Steeler defense is far from the Steel Curtain, or even the Pittsburgh defensive squads of the last few years. Ridley has been among the best running backs over the last three weeks, so three quarters of action should be enough for him to produce.
Matchup to Watch: Le’Veon Bell vs. Patriots run defense
The rookie Bell has been productive since becoming the Steelers starting RB in Week 4. This Patriots defense ranks 31st against the run, due in part to the season-ending injuries of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Against a bruising back like Bell, this New England front seven will be under a lot pressure.
Even though there are major holes in the Patriots defense, the most gaping holes in this game will be in the Pittsburgh O-line. It seems that the Steelers lose a new offensive lineman every game, so this Patriots pass rush should be able to get to Roethlisbergers. And even though the Patriots offense has stalled more frequently this year, they shouldn’t have trouble against a unit that cannot stop the run and is average against the pass. Look for the Patriots to grab a lead in this one, and hold on in a tight game.
Patriots 27, Steelers 20