On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs were begging for the other team to steal the win. The Steelers were unable to score a touchdown the entire game, as kicker Chris Boswell shelled six field goal attempts through the uprights to seal their plans for next weekend.
Similar to Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger was wildly mediocre against a solid defense, as he went 20-for-31 for 224 yards and an interception, which was good for a 72.5 passer rating. I don't know if its just me, but Big Ben looks slow moving around the pocket. I'm not sure if he is still feeling any lingering effects from his lower body injuries earlier this season, but every time Roethlisberger goes down, it takes a long time for him to get up.
While Roethlisberger will be slinging the ball to Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell should be the biggest threat that keeps Bill Belichick up at night. The offense flowed through Bell against the Chiefs, as he rushed the football 30 times for 170 yards. The Patriots have the best defense left in the playoffs, so if they cannot stop the Pittsburgh Steelers, then nobody else will be able to and the Super Bowl will end up being a shootout, if it isn't destined for that anyway.
However, a two nights after seeing the Steelers struggle mightily on offense and defense, my knee-jerk reaction is to believe the Patriots will come out and punch them in the mouth. The Patriots played like horse manure last week and I have a hard time believing that will lay a goose leg two straight weeks.
Furthermore, historically Tom Brady has been a man's man against Mike Tomlin coached teams. In six career games, Tom Brady is 5-1, completing 71.2% of his passes for 315 yards per game, 19 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 118 passer rating, while the Patriots have scored 33.3 points per game during that stretch.
While the Steelers have been playing better defensively, their best player on that side of the football is James Harrison, who will be going up against Nate Solder and/or Marcus Cannon, whom I have complete confidence in. In order to make Brady uncomfortable, pressure is needed up the middle and I simply don't see Pittsburgh being able to generate that pressure. The Patriots will put Tom Brady in shotgun, spread everyone out, and pick apart this secondary. We will either see a Patriots blowout or a shootout, depending on how much the defense can slow down Roethlisberger and Bell.