coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
On 10/29/2013 06:59 PM in NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots: Preview and Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots: Preview and Pick

In the past a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots would steal all the headlines as two of the best teams in the AFC and the NFL. However this year these teams are headed in two different directions. The Steelers recently lost on the west coast against the Oakland Raiders and have had trouble coming by wins this season. The Patriots are winning football games, but they have not come easy as they have in the last and it has been done with some ugly football.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Odds

The NFL point spread for this game is in favor of the Patriots as the line opened with the Patriots (-7). The football betting fan base has given up on the Steelers as over 70 percent of the betting action is coming in on the home team Patriots. This line has yet to move but do not be surprised if the point spread jumps over the touchdown mark with all of the public on the home team. Check the latest line at your favorite top rated sportsbook before placing a wager.

The Patriots are starting to improve on defense. The Patriots defense sent a defensive back after Tannehill on 14-of-49 dropbacks, posting three sacks (one a strip sack) and holding him to 6-of-11 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots had used five defensive-back blitzes all season entering Sunday, less than half the amount of any other team. The Steelers defense is struggling. Terrell Pryor had a 93-yard TD run which is the longest TD run by a QB in NFL history. Although Brady won’t run, the Steelers have to play better.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveals that the betting angles favor the New England Patriots. The Steelers are 2-5 against the spread (ATS) in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall. The Patriots are 21-7-2 ATS in their last 30 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against a team with a losing road record.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
10/30/2013 12:23 PM

The Oakland Raiders did everything they could to hand the game to the Steelers in the second half, but Pittsburgh just wouldn’t accept it as they failed to beat Oakland, 21-18, in a very sloppy game keeping them in the cellar of the AFC North at 2-5 while the Raiders improved to 3-4.

The Raiders opened the game with a 93 touchdown run by local kid Terrelle Pryor, which was the longest touchdown run in history by a quarterback. After that, it appeared the Raiders were going to blow the Steelers off the field as they built up a 21-3 halftime lead.

But in the second half the Raiders offense played as bad as the Steelers offense had in the first half, not being able to mount any kind of offensive drive via poor execution and conservative play calling. Yet the Steelers couldn’t take advantage of the poor Raiders play and the good field position they constantly received from the defense. They scored 18 points, but Shaun Suisham missed two easy field goals, Ben Roethlisberger threw interceptions and the offensive line allowed sacks at critical times in the game. Both teams showed why they should finish well out of the playoffs.

Just when everyone was talking about the improved running game Le’Veon Bell was only able to pick up 24 yards on 13 carries. Ben was 29 of 45 for275 yards and a touchdown to Emmanual Sanders. For the Raiders, Darren McFadden had 74 yards on 24 carries, and Pryor had 106 yards on 9 carries but 93 came on the big run. Both Antonio Brown, 9 catches for 82 yards, and Sanders, 7 catches for 88 yards, had solid games.

Things are not going to get any easier for the Steelers, as they face the New England Patriots, 6-2, this weekend.

Despite having a young team and a struggling defense, the Patriots behind quarterback Tom Brady have proven to be one of the better teams in the league this season.

And with tight end Rob Gronkowski returning from an injury they are going to get better. They can be beaten, as the New York Jets proved, but the Steelers would have to play a near perfect game, and would have to score more than 20 points, which they haven’t proven they can do.

The Patriots are coming off a 27-17 victory over their division rival Miami Dolphins. Brady numbers wasn’t impressive, 13 of 22 for just 113 yards, but the result was. Their top receiver this season has been Aaron Dobson but look for Gronkowski to be the go to man in this game as he gets healthier. The ground game is solid with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. They had a combined 125 yards on 28 carries.

The Pats defense hasn’t been anything to write home about, but the way the Steelers offense has been playing they probably won’t be able to take advantage of it.

In the AFC North the Cincinnati Bengals continued to roll as they murdered the New York Jets 49-9 to start pulling away from the pack at 6-2. The Baltimore Ravens, 3-4 had a bye week, and the Cleveland Browns became the Kansas City Chiefs’ 8th straight victim at 23-17 to fall to 3-5.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
10/30/2013 12:24 PM

New England Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is out for the season with a right leg injury.

Vollmer was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday after being hurt in the second quarter Sunday when Miami defensive tackle Randy Starks fell on the back of his legs. Marcus Cannon replaced Vollmer and the Patriots beat the Dolphins 27-17.

Vollmer, a second-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2009, has started all eight games this season and 57 of the 64 he's played in the NFL, including the postseason.

New England also acquired defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga from Philadelphia, where he started seven of eight games this season.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
10/30/2013 12:25 PM

The New England Patriots are back to full health, or at least healthy enough to have everyone on the field for a Wednesday afternoon practice.

After be missing in action for the last few weeks, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (knee) and running backs Leon Washington (ankle) and Shane Vereen (wrist) were spotted by reporters in attendance at Wednesday's practice.

Kelly went down with a knee injury during a Week 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals and has not practiced since. His return comes one day after the team traded for defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who also practiced.

Vereen, who was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return, took part in his first practice since suffering wrist injury Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. He is eligible to return Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, following the Patriots’ bye week.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
10/31/2013 02:49 PM

The New England Patriots sit atop the AFC East, yet Tom Brady thinks they can do better.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, definitely need some improvement.

Brady and the Patriots look to show some consistency and remain unbeaten at home by capitalizing on a meeting with the sputtering Steelers on Sunday.

New England (6-2) leads the second-place New York Jets by two games in the division, despite some uncharacteristically lowly numbers from Brady.

The future Hall of Famer is completing 55.7 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, six interceptions and a 74.9 passer rating - 20.7 below his career mark.

He was even worse while the Patriots split their last four games, converting 52.3 percent of his attempts for 810 yards with two TDs, four picks and a 61.6 rating.

"We're trying," Brady said. "There are a lot of things we can do better."

Getting off to a stronger start is surely one of them. The Patriots rebounded from an atrocious first half last week, scoring 17 points in the third quarter to rally for a 27-17 victory over Miami that improved them to 4-0 at home.

Brady was one of the main culprits during the slow start, connecting on 6 of 8 passes for 25 yards with an INT while the offense totaled 59 yards.

Still, the Steelers (2-5) aren't getting caught up in Brady's unusually meager statistics.

"You can pick apart his numbers, but the only one that matters is 6-2," safety Ryan Clark said. "When you give Tom Brady a chance to win a football game, he's going to do it."

He's certainly done that against Pittsburgh, tossing 16 touchdowns with three interceptions while winning six of eight meetings, including both in the postseason. He's also won both matchups at Gillette Stadium, but the most recent came back on Dec. 9, 2007.

Protecting Brady, who's been sacked 23 times already - four fewer than all of last season - falls to an offensive line that will be without Sebastian Vollmer.

The right tackle was lost for the season with a right leg injury last week and is expected to be replaced by Marcus Cannon, who has started only one of 31 career games over three seasons.

The Steelers, though, have managed just 10 sacks, one more than league-worst Chicago. However, their defense ranks fourth in the NFL, yielding an average of 302.9 yards, including 181.0 through the air.

"They have a good defense and the way we've been playing offensively, we can't be up and down like we've been," Brady said. "We have to be more consistent. Hopefully this is our best week to be able to do that."

Pittsburgh is also looking to bounce back after following a pair of wins with a 21-18 loss at Oakland last week. Coach Mike Tomlin isn't dwelling on the performance, which included 276 yards of offense and only 35 rushing.

"Our record is our record," Tomlin said. "There's nothing that we can do about what has been played."

Like the Patriots last week, the Steelers have been victimized by slow starts. They've been outscored 54-19 in the first quarter after trailing 15-0 versus the Raiders.

Pittsburgh, trying to climb out of the AFC North basement, is tied for 27th in the league in scoring, averaging 17.9 points.

"The starts of games don't determine the outcomes of games," Tomlin said. "We need to keep that in mind as we prepare, too. I don't want to get lulled into a sense of comfort if we should go up to New England and come out and have a successful start. We've got to play football for 60 minutes and winning football."

Ben Roethlisberger will try to rebound from perhaps his worst performance of the season. He completed 29 of 45 passes for 275 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a season-low 70.1 rating.

His seven picks are just one shy of his total from last season, and he's facing a Patriots defense that has seven of its 10 INTs at home. The unit is fifth in the league with 215.5 passing yards allowed per contest, but 31st against the run (130.8).

That could mean a big day for rookie Le'Veon Bell, who mustered 24 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries last week.

The Steelers won their last road meeting with New England on Nov. 30, 2008, but the Patriots have gone 34-3 at home during the regular season since that loss.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
11/01/2013 03:12 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers rank near the bottom of the NFL in points per game, but offensive coordinator Todd Haley still believes in his team. Despite the fact that the team struggles to light up the scoreboard and people calling for his job, Haley thinks his team is right on the edge of greatness — well, “on the cusp of being pretty good.”

Haley thinks that the team can start scoring enough points to win games and Haley thinks that time could come soon.

“I feel like we’re on the cusp of being pretty good,” Haley said, via Scott Brown of ESPN.com. “We’ve had a lot of moving parts — not that anybody else hasn’t — but we’ve had to overcome and mix and match a little bit but I do feel like we’re close to playing the way we have to play for us to win on a weekly basis.”

Ideally, Haley’s offense will start to improve their performance this week.

The Cincinnati Bengals just lost on Thursday Night Football, which means a win by Pittsburgh will close the gap in the AFC North and keep their hopes alive.

Pittsburgh does play the New England Patriots on Sunday, so it won’t be easy, but it’s a banged up Patriots defense and an offense that has struggled in their own right. Perhaps this is the perfect time for the Steelers to turn their season around.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
11/01/2013 03:13 PM

The Patriots are battling some uncharacteristic issues, but the Steelers are going to need to break some season-long tendencies to pose a threat on the road. It begins with their defense, which has produced only 10 sacks on the season in part because the 27th-ranked run defense doesn’t force many long passing situations. Patriots QB Tom Brady has been sacked 16 times over the past four games and has a new starting right tackle.

New England’s comeback against Miami last week was built largely on a stronger commitment to the ground game, and expect more of the same in an effort to protect Brady better. T

he Steelers’ offense, meanwhile, is ranked 30th in the league while averaging only 3.3 yards per carry. That opens QB Ben Roethlisberger to significant pressure while being forced into a one-dimensional attack while playing from behind. The result? The Steelers have a minus-9 turnover margin. The Patriots have been more vulnerable along the interior since losing NT Vince Wilfork, although veteran Isaac Sopoaga was added to the rotation this week.

coleryan Posts:11961 Followers:18
11/02/2013 11:28 AM

Pittsburgh will have to replace guard David DeCastro, as he’s been ruled out with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton (finger) and cornerback Curtis Brown (not injury related) are also out.

Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (knee) is out again, while cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) and running back Leon Washington (ankle) are questionable to make their returns to the lineup.