New England Patriots
By Jason Green
No big surprise that the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are facing off in the AFC title Game. These teams met earlier this season in Pittsburgh where the Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger did not play in the Game due to an injury. Pittsburgh beat the Chiefs last week on the road, but while they played solid defense they only had 18 points all of which came on field goals. They, obviously, have a tougher task this week in New England facing a Pats team at home that has won 8 in a row.
Well, the Patriots are in the AFC title Game for the 6th straight season and they look to get back to the big Game after losing last season to the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos. Brady had a good Game, but he was picked off twice facing Houston and their top-ranked defense and the Steelers may need to come up with some turnovers in this Game to pull off the upset.
The Patriots are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 Games facing the Steelers.
The Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in their last Game covering the spread as a 2.5-point road underdog.
In their last Game the Patriots beat the Houston Texans 34-16 where they covered as a 16-point home favorite.
Big Ben passed for 224 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT in the win over the Chiefs and star WR Antonio Brown had 108 yards. RB Le’Veon Bell had another great Game rushing for 170 yards and containing him may be the #1 priority of the New England defense. However, in the 2 playoff Games this season he has totaled 337 rushing yards.
New England GAve up 285 yards in the win over the Texans and overall they rank 12th in the league in pass defense and tied for 3rd in run defense.
Brady not only had 2 INT in the win over Houston, but overall the Pats had 3 turnovers and they cannot let that happen again. Brady has all the weapons and he needs his offensive line to play well against James Harrison and the solid Pittsburgh pass rush. New England rushed for 98 yards in the Houston Game and while LeGArrette Blount only rushed for 31 yards in the Game he rushed for 127 yards with 2 TD in the earlier match up this season with the Steelers.
Pittsburgh only GAve up 227 total yards in the win over Kansas City and overall they rank 16th in the league defending the pass and 13th defending the run.
Pittsburgh is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road Games, 1-3-2 ATS in their last 6 playoff road Games, and in their last 27 Games on the road the posted total has gone Under 20 times.
New England is 14-3 ATS in their last 17 Games overall, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff home Games, and in their last 5 playoff Games at home the posted total has gone Over every time.
Our Pick – Patriots -6