Winter storm watch: The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for parts of the state Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.  Stay with WTIC NewsTalk 1080 for the latest forecast, and for traffic problems resulting from the weather. Read More

TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Steelers were ill-prepared to take on the Oakland Raiders in Week Eight and no matter what was said after the game, they were looking ahead to this game against the Patriots and it cost them in a big way. Ben Roethlisberger is healthy right now, and that’s a big change from past years but he is not getting the kind of protection he needs.
Winner While Tom Brady does not have the receivers he has had in the past, that’s not the only reason the quarterback has been off this year. He is playing with swelling in his right hand and his passes have lacked accuracy. Brady won’t use that as an excuse and he shouldn’t. He merely needs to take what opposing defenses are giving him, something he did regularly in the past.
Offense
The Steelers were hoping they would get a hard-edged running back when they selected Le’Veon Bell last spring. While it’s too early to write him off, Bell’s 3.3 yards per carry average has not given the Steelers the ground game they need. Antonio Brown is proving to be a solid target who will catch nearly anything he can touch. Heath Miller is still a solid tight end.
Winner The Patriots’ running backs demonstrated fumbling problems earlier in the year, but it appears those issues have been solved. Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden form a solid combination for Brady. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is getting closer to top form, while Danny Amendola will try to stay healthy so he can make a few plays on the outside.
Defense
Winner The Steelers appear to have gotten it back together defensively since they rank fourth in overall defense, and that makes their Week Eight loss to the Raiders that much more galling. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is having a solid year and he leads the team with 59 tackles and he also has five passes defensed. Outside linebacker has a team-high 5.0 sacks.
The Patriots had a solid defense earlier in the year, but that unit has been ripped apart by injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Aqib Talib. While Wilfork and Mayo are done for the year, Talib could return from his hip injury this week. Defensive end Chandler Jones has a team-high 6.5 sacks, while defensive tackle Chris Jones is right behind with 4.5 sacks.
Special Teams
The Steelers appear to be playing fast and loose with their return teams. They haven’t given up any touchdown returns, but they appear to be on the verge of giving up a damaging return every week. Placekicker Shaun Suisham has been shockingly effective, making 15-of-17 FG attempts.
Winner The Patriots are not taking their special teams for granted. They regularly do an excellent job in coverage and Julian Edelman is a threat to flip field position on punt returns nearly every time he touches the ball. Stephen Gostkowski has made 20-of-21 FG attempts and may be the best kicker in the league.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
3 out of 4

The Patriots are not about to feel sorry for the Steelers and allow them to come into Foxboro and steal a win. However, if Brady can’t improve his accuracy, New England could be vulnerable.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on before playing agains the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 05: A croupier spins a roulette wheel at the new luxury casino, which opens tomorrow, on February 5, 2008 in Glasgow, Scotland. This 25m GPB venue, named Alea, opens on the Clyde at Springfield Quay near the city centre and is Scotland's first luxury casino, dining and live music venue.
    Bigger Gamble, Guessing Pats’ Running Back Or Hitting Roulette Number?

    Guessing Bill Belichick’s running back is near impossible, but how does the gamble compare to Roulette, another game of chance?

  2. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At New Orleans Saints

    The Ravens are dependent on Joe Flacco to play his best football down the stretch if they are going to make a run at the AFC North title. Flacco is certainly capable of getting hot and putting big numbers up on the scoreboard.

  3. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At New York Giants

    The Cowboys have been one of the bigger surprises in the league this year, but their sharp start could go to waste if they can’t come through in games like this.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 880 other followers