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Patriots To Bounce Back From Miami Loss In Pittsburgh

December 13, 2018

The Pittsburgh Steelers face a must-win contest against the New England Patriots to keep themselves on pace for a playoff berth.

Mike Tomlin’s men have lost three matches on the bounce to drop to 7-6-1 in their campaign, putting them within striking distance of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. After recording a six-game winning streak, the Steelers were on course to challenge for a bye in the post-season in the AFC Conference.

However, their season has been derailed by defeats at the hands of the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders on the road and another against the Los Angeles Chargers at Heinz Field. The club needed a last-second comeback to avoid a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last month after falling into a 16-0 hole.

With the Steelers struggling for form, the last team they will want to see entering Pittsburgh is the Patriots, who they have failed to beat since 2011. New England suffered one of their most devastating defeats in their history last week, allowing the ‘Miami Miracle’ on the final play of the game in their loss to the Miami Dolphins last week.

Bill Belichick’s side held a 33-28 lead, with the Dolphins needing a moment of magic at their 31-yard line. Miami completed a desperado style play, completing lateral passes downfield to allow Kenyan Drake to record the miraculous score. New England rarely drop two games on the bounce and will be primed for a reaction against the Steelers.

Will Brady defeat the Steelers again?

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have fallen apart since their demolition of the Carolina Panthers in week 10 of the campaign. On that night Pittsburgh tore apart the Panthers with ease, scoring 52 points, making a statement in the playoff race in the AFC. Since then their form has nosedived, winning only one of their last four matches. Even that victory was a closely-fought contest as Ben Roethlisberger was needed to engineer a 16-point comeback against the Jaguars on the road.

The quarterback scored the decisive touchdown to secure the win, which now holds huge significance in the AFC North. Pittsburgh’s slump has brought them back to the pack in their division, with the Ravens only one game behind them. Tomlin’s men cannot afford another defeat as the Cleveland Browns are not completely out of the picture at 5-7-1 in their campaign.

The picture is not a rosy one for the Steelers at the moment. Roethlisberger and Tomlin do not appear to be on the same page, while the quarterback has also had an issue with his receivers outside of Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. James Conner is a doubt for the clash against the Patriots after suffering an ankle injury two weeks ago. Kicker Chris Boswell is under huge pressure after struggling for form, including his late miss against the Raiders last week.

Pittsburgh have not beaten the Patriots since 2011. Their defensive scheme has been exposed by Tom Brady time and again, while Roethlisberger has been unable to keep pace with his opposite. If there was ever a time when the Steelers a flawless performance from all three disciplines of their team – it’s now.

New England Patriots

The Patriots were stunned last week by the ‘Miami Miracle’. Adam Gase’s men produced the longest touchdown from scrimmage with no time left on the clock to defeat New England. It was a defensive breakdown of epic proportions from the Patriots. Many fans and pundits were left confused as to Rob Gronkowski’s position on the field.

Gronkowski has been deployed in the past as a defender on Hail Mary plays, but considering where Miami were on the field, a throw to endzone was out of the question. His stumble in the last line of defense allowed Drake to cross the line unopposed, perhaps being symptomatic of New England’s form on the road.

Belichick’s side are 3-4 away from Gillette Stadium this term, which has all but ended their hopes of claiming the number one seed in the AFC this term. The Patriots could still secure a bye in the playoffs for ninth term on the bounce, although it could put them on the road in a potential clash in the AFC Championship. Their defense has been inconsistent to say the least, allowing 28 points to an average Miami offense even before the final play. Belichick will never be under pressure due to his exploits over his 20 years in New England, but the defensive performances will be irking this term.

Fortunately for the Patriots, Brady produced one of his best displays of the season, while Gronkowski also was back to his best. The two players have been a deadly combination against Pittsburgh over the last nine years, especially their triumph last term. They will be eager to put the Steelers to the sword again to wrap up the AFC East crown and take a huge step towards the a bye in the post-season.

Head to Head

Games Played: 31 Pittsburgh Steelers: 15 New England Patriots: 16

The Patriots have dominated the fixture in the Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh. Since the quarterback came into the NFL, the Steelers have won all three of the 12 meetings, although one of those came when Brady was injured in 2008. Roethlisberger missed the 2015 contest at Heinz Field, but he has not enjoyed his games against Belichick and company.

He committed the costly error last season when he threw an interception on the two-yard line after his side had been denied by the catch rule. The result had a huge effect on the playoff race, which nudged the Steelers into the two seed and their eventual showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars that dumped Pittsburgh out in the Divisional Round.

Brady has won the last five matches, throwing 10 touchdowns to just one interception. He has dominated the matchup, including two wins in AFC Championship Games in the 2004 and 2016 seasons. Gronkowski has 39 catches, 664 yards and eight touchdowns in his six career games against the Steelers.

Betting Options

The Steelers are desperate in their battle to secure a playoff place to fend off the presence of the Ravens behind them in the AFC North. They’ve not played their best football for over a month and are vulnerable against the Patriots. New England suffered a shocking loss at the hands of Miami, but their offense is starting to click into gear at the right time.

They always seem to play well against Pittsburgh on the road therefore take Belichick’s men to notch the win at odds of -130  with TopBet. Take the Patriots on a -3 spread for the win by a margin of a field goal at 27/25  with 888Sport, while back the over with BetOnline for more than 52 points to be scored in the game at -105 .

Tips Summary

New England Patriots To Beat Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday 16th December 2018 16:25 ET (21:25 GMT)
Odds: -130

New England Patriots -3 Spread
Sunday 16th December 2018 16:25 ET (21:25 GMT)
Odds: 27/25

Over 52 Points To Be Scored
Sunday 16th December 2018 16:25 ET (21:25 GMT)
Odds: -105

  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • New England Patriots
  • NFL
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tom Brady

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.