Sunday Night Football Preview- Patriots @ Steelers

Yes it’s time for our first Sunday Night Football preview and what better way to kick it off with a homoerotic image of Troy Polamalu! More on him later.

Sunday night sees a clash between one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, and the most successful team, QB, and coach of the past decade. Yes, this sunday, your treat to keep you awake till stupid o’clock is the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the New England Patriots.

Now obviously, in these kind of preview blogs, one has to hype the game up as much as possible, but this is a game that doesn’t need the hype! Between the two quarter backs we have 5 superbowl rings, the only two in the league currently playing with more than one to their name. Add to that a couple of the most respected coaches in the league, and the most explosive defensive player around you’ve got a mouth-watering matchup.

The Steelers are the most successful franchise in NFL history with 6 superbowl wins to their name, two of them in the last 5 years with contraversial, Will Ferrell-lookalike Ben Roethlisberger at quarter back who is looking to edge near the great Terry Bradshaw’s Franchise and league-equalling record of 4 superbowl wins from Quarterback.

The Patriots, contrasting with their historic opponents have had all their success in the last decade with the partnership of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Bellichick leading the side to Superbowl wins in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Their success since then has been limited, and despite the talent in the franchise have only been back to the Superbowl once, losing to the New York Giants in a massive upset after having previously created history by going the rest of 16 game regular season unbeaten.

The Patriots have started this season like a team wanting to regain their crown, and, after a week 2 defeat to conference rivals the New York Jets, won 5 gams straight, including defeats of the Vikings and Ravens, even with the loss of Randy Moss halfway through that stretch. That run came to an end last week with a shock defeat to perennial whipping-boys Clevland Browns, led by rookie, 3rd round drafted quarterback Colt McCoy.  The Pats have been strengthened with new faces replacing some of the more established names including BenJarvus Green-Ellis at running back and rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez who leads the team in recieving yards, and sit alongside the New York Jets at the top of the AFC East with a 6-2 record.

The Steelers started the season without Roethlisberger following alledged off the field misdemeanors but started the season impressively with defensive-inspired wins against playoff contenders Falcons and Titans, only slipping up in the first 4 games in tight game against the Ravens. Since Big Ben has returned they have replicated their 3-1 record from their first 4 games, including a controversial win against the Miami Dolphins where a Roethlisberger fumble went un-noticed by the officials just before the winning field goal. The offense has been spearheaded by 3rd year running back Rashard Mendenhall who has been the leading rusher in 7 of his 8 games.

Ones to Watch

For the Patriots, you can’t looks pass Tom Brady. Whilst his numbers haven’t been as spectacular as they may have been 7 or 8 years ago, he has managed the offense wonderful, throwing 14 touchdowns but only 4 interceptions in an offense that has scored more points per game than everyone other than the Titans, utilising a wide range of receivers with 13 different players making catches, and 7 scoring touchdowns from Brady’s hand. He will have a tough time on sunday evening against the much-vaunted Steelers defense, and picking apart a secondary which includes the next man we’re going to focus on is never easy.

When you look at the Steelers defense, it’s dominated by one man, Troy Polamalu, and its hard to underestimate his significance to the colossal unit. He struggled with injuries last season, only playing 5 games. In those 5, the Steelers went 4-1, whilst without him, they went 5-6. This year, he’s played every game and the Steelers lead the league in points conceded and running yards, and have shut down big name running backs such as Chris Johnson and Michael Turner. The battle between Troy and Brady may well define the way this game goes.

Prediction

It’s a tough one to call this one. But whilst both teams will fancy their chances of going deep in the playoffs, both are in divisions where it’s tight at the top, so this could be crucial in the way the AFC playoffs shake up come January. I’m going to stick my neck out that the Steelers, led by Troy and Ben will win this one by 3. Trust me, it will be worth a watch!

Jamie

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  1. November 14th, 2010

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