The New England Patriots are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night. The game is scheduled for a 6:40 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. The NFL Odds for the game have the Patriots favored by around a touchdown to pick up the win.
New England -6
Total: 50.5 points
New England continues to be the staple of success in the NFL. Now the Patriots are looking to get back into the Super Bowl once again after losing last season in the conference championship game to Denver. Pittsburgh is one of the storied franchises in the NFL as well, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2009 but have consistently been solid since.
These two teams last met in the playoffs in 2005, a game the Patriots won 41-27 and marched to win their third Super Bowl title in four seasons.
New England has been the best team in the league all season. Tom Brady threw 30 touchdowns this season despite being suspended the first four games for Deflategate. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to go to the Falcons-Packers game instead of being in this one, and it’s no real surprise. If New England is able to win this game and pick up another Super Bowl title, that will really make things interesting if Goodell has to hand the Lombardi Trophy over to Robert Kraft or even Brady himself.
In getting back to this game, Pittsburgh will have the two best skill position players in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger has been in this situation before and while he might be a little banged up, he’s absolutely going to give his best effort.
New England’s defense gave up the fewest points in the NFL this season, allowing just 15.6 points. Brady and the offense play a big role in that by dominating the time of possession in key spots, for the year the Patriots ranked fifth at just under 31:00 per game in time of possession.
The Pats don’t have a ton of super-talented players like the Steelers do offensively, but Julian Edelman is a big-play guy that caught 91 passes on the season and hauled in eight passes against the Texans last week. Dion Lewis also proved to be an important piece for the Pats in catching, rushing and taking a kick back for a touchdown last week. He’s obviously not going to be able to do that again, but catching the ball out of the backfield could prove to be important here.
It’s hard to go against the Patriots here, they’ve won 33 of the past 37 games at home the past four seasons and have covered the number in 26 (74 percent) of those games. Brady is 2-0 all-time against the Steelers in the post season and 9-3 against them all together.
New England is just better on both sides of the ball and playing at home gives them a distinct advantage.
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