New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

Najee Harris will have to pull off his best “Superman” impression for the Steelers to win on Thursday night against the Patriots. Photo Courtesy: Erik Drost

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Game Info
New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Thursday – December 7 – 7:15 p.m.
Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Records Before the Game
New England Patriots (2-10, 1-4 Away)
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5, 4-3 Home)

The Patriots have become the punching bags of the NFL. Long gone are the days of being the bullies of the league. The starting quarterback is on shaky ground and has been benched, the running game is null-and-void, and the defense can’t stop anybody right now. The Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting the Patriots for TNF and they are down to their back-up quarterback. That’s the only piece that’s missing from this team. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s Thursday Night Football game in Pittsburgh.

What to watch for…
The key for a Steelers win will be how well their quarterback plays. This week they are starting veteran Mitch Trubisky. What can I say, he hasn’t been right since his first year in Chicago. The Patriots benched starting quarterback Matt Jones for Bailey Zappe and he went 13-25 for 141 passing yards in a 6-0 loss to the Chargers. Both teams need this win for different reasons, the Patriots need some confidence to move forward as an organization; the Steelers are still in the hunt for the playoffs.

New England Patriots
The Patriots are 6 years removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Now, this team has been struggling to start a decent quarterback since Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay. I believe that if they start running the ball effectively, that would help the passing game. Look, they have nothing to lose, they are already 2-10. Running back Ezekiel Elliott needs to touch the ball at least 10 times in the first half. He has something left in the tank, you paid him, so run him! The offensive line will be the x-factor for the Patriots on the road. They have to get after the d-line of the Steelers and create running lanes for the backs.

Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are looking to knock off the Patriots. “Now it’s payback time, kick them while they’re down!” The Steelers will need to start off fast and physical. The only way to control the Patriots is to apply pressure to anyone starting at the quarterback spot for the Patriots. Keep an eye on running back Najee Harris. He will play a huge part in the offensive scheme this week. The Patriots are soft upfront so running the ball will be first priority. The x-factor for a Steelers win will be the defensive line and linebackers. If they control the line of scrimmage on defense, the Patriots will be looking at a lot of three-and-outs!

ESPN has the Steelers with a 64.8% chance of winning at home and securing their 8th win of the season. I’m taking the Steelers by 13! They are significantly better than the Patriots.

Final Score
Steelers – 30
Patriots – 17